Alida Valli

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Алида Валли,
Kampo Verano, Roma

Alida Valli (31 May 1921 – 22 April 2006), sometimes simply credited as Valli, stage name of Baroness Alida Maria Laura Altenburger von Marckenstein u. Frauenberg, was an Italian actress who appeared in more than 100 films, including Mario Soldati's Piccolo mondo antico, Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case, Carol Reed's The Third Man, Michelangelo Antonioni's Il Grido, Luchino Visconti's Senso, Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 and Dario Argento's Suspiria.


Early life

Valli was born in Pola, Istria, Italy (today Pula, Croatia). Her paternal grandfather was the Baron Luigi Altenburger (also: Altempurger), an Austrian-Italian from Trento, a descendant of the Counts d'Arco; her paternal grandmother was Elisa Tomasi from Trento, a cousin of the Roman senator Ettore Tolomei. Valli's mother, Silvia Oberecker della Martina, born in Pola, was the daughter of Felix Oberecker (also: Obrekar) from Laibach, Austria (now Ljubljana, Slovenia); her mother was Virginia della Martina from Pola, Istria (then part of Austria). Valli's maternal granduncle, Rodolfo, was a close friend of Gabriele d'Annunzio. Valli was christened Baroness Alida Maria Laura Altenburger von Marckenstein-Frauenberg. She also gained the titles Dr.h.c. of the III. University of Rome, Chevalier of Arts of France and Cavaliere of the Italian Republic.



At fifteen, she went to Rome, where she attended the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, a school for film actors and directors. At that time, she lived with her uncle Ettore Tolomei. Valli started her movie career in 1934, in Il cappello a tre punte (The Three Cornered Hat) during the so-called Telefoni Bianchicinema era. Her first big success came with the movie Mille lire al mese. After many roles in a large number of comedies, she earned her success as dramatic actress in Piccolo mondo antico (1941), directed by Mario Soldati, for which she won a special Best Actress award at Venice Film Festival. During the Second World War, she starred in many movies including Stasera niente di nuovo (1942) (whose song "Ma l'amore no" became the leitmotif of the Italian forties) and the diptych Noi Vivi / Addio Kira! (1943) (based on Ayn Rand's novel We the Living). These latter two movies were nearly censored by the Italian government under Benito Mussolini, but they were finally permitted because the novel upon which were based was anti-Soviet. The films were successful, and the public easily realized that they were as much against Fascism as Communism. After several weeks, however, the films were pulled from theaters as the German and Italian governments, which abhorred communism, found out the story also carried an anti-fascist message.

By her early 20s already widely regarded as the "most beautiful woman in the World," Valli had a career in English language films through David Selznick, who signed her to a contract, thinking that he had found a second Ingrid Bergman. In Hollywood, she performed in several movies: she was the murder suspect Maddalena Paradine in Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case (1947), and the mysterious Czech refugee wanted by the Russians in post-war Vienna in Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949). But her foreign experience was not a great success, owing to the financial problems of Selznick's production company.

She returned to Europe in the early 1950s, and starred in many French and Italian films. In 1954, she had great success in the melodrama Senso, directed byLuchino Visconti. In that film, set in mid-19th century Venice during the Risorgimento, she played a Venetian countess torn between nationalistic feelings and an adulterous love for an officer (played by Farley Granger) of the occupying Austrian forces.

In 1959, she appeared in Georges Franju's horror masterpiece Les Yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face). From the 1960s, she worked in several pictures with famous directors, such as Pier Paolo Pasolini (Edipo re, a.k.a. Oedipus Rex, 1967), Bernardo Bertolucci (La strategia del ragno, 1972; Novecento, 1976), and Dario Argento (Suspiria, 1977). Her final movie role was in Semana Santa (2002), with Mira Sorvino. In Italy, she was also well known for her stage appearances in such plays as Ibsen's Rosmersholm; Pirandello's Henry IV; John Osborne's Epitaph for George Dillon; and Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge. At the 54th Venice International Film Festival in 1997 Alida Valli obtained the Golden Lion award for her career.


Personal life

Her teenage love Carlo Cugnasca, a fighter pilot with Regia Aeronautica, was posted as missing after failing to return from a mission over British-held Tobrukon 14 April 1941.

Valli's movie career suffered in 1953 from a scandal surrounding the death of Wilma Montesi, a fashion model whose body was found on a public beach nearOstia; prolonged investigations resulted, involving allegations of drug and sex orgies in Roman society. Among the accused – all of whom were acquitted, leaving the case unsolved – was Valli's lover, jazz musician Piero Piccioni (son of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs).

Alida Valli had two sons with her husband Oscar de Mejo.

Valli's death at her home on 22 April 2006 was announced by the office of the mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, whose statement read, "The Italian cinema has lost one of its most intense and striking faces". Another official statement by the Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi read, "La scomparsa di Alida Valli è una grave perdita per il cinema, il teatro e la cultura italiana" ("The death of Alida Valli is a great loss for Italian cinema, theatre and culture").

Her body lay in state for two days on the Capitoline Hill. Afterwards her body was housed in a freezer in Milan for 6 months awaiting a place in Rome's popular Campo Verano cemetery. It was only after her son, Carlo De Mejo wrote an open letter complaining of her treatment that she was able to be buried in the Campo Verano Cemetery.

The critic David Shipman wrote in his book The Great Movie Stars, "[Y]ou will probably regard her as one of the half-dozen best actresses in the world". The French critic Frédéric Mitterrand wrote: "[C]ette actrice fut la seule en Europe à égaler Marlène Dietrich ou Garbo" (This was the only actress in Europe to equal Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo).




  • I due sergenti (1936)
  • L'ultima nemica (1937)
  • Sono stato io! (1937)
  • Il feroce Saladino (1937)
  • Mille lire al mese (1938)
  • Ma l'amor mio non muore (also known as L'amore mio non muore, 1938)
  • L'ha fatto una signora (1938)
  • La casa del peccato (1938)
  • Ballo al castello (1939)
  • Assenza ingiustificata (1939)
  • Taverna rossa (1940)
  • La prima donna che passa (1940)
  • Oltre l'amore (1940)
  • Manon Lescaut (1940)
  • Piccolo mondo antico (1941)
  • Luce nelle tenebre (1941)
  • Ore 9 lezione di chimica (1941)
  • L'amante segreta (1941)
  • Stasera niente di nuovo (1942)
  • Catene invisibili (1942)
  • Le due orfanelle (1942)
  • We the Living (1942)
  • Addio Kira (1942)
  • T'amerò sempre (1943)
  • I pagliacci (1943)
  • Apparizione (1943)
  • Circo equestre Za-bum (1944)
  • La vita ricomincia (1945)
  • Il canto della vita (1945)
  • Eugenia Grandet (1947)
  • The Paradine Case (1947)
  • The Miracle of the Bells (1948)
  • The Third Man (1949)
  • The White Tower (1950)
  • Walk Softly, Stranger (1950)
  • L'ultimo incontro (1951)
  • Les Miracles n'ont lieu qu'une fois (1951)
  • La mano dello straniero (1952)
  • Il mondo le condanna (1953)
  • Les Amants de Tolède (1953)
  • Siamo donne (Segment: "Alida Valli", 1953)
  • Senso (1954)
  • L'amore più bello (1957)
  • La grande strada azzurra (1957)
  • Il grido (1957)
  • This Angry Age (1958)
  • The Night Heaven Fell (Les Bijoutiers du clair de lune) (1958)
  • Signé Arsène Lupin (1959)
  • Eyes Without a Face (1960)
  • Le Dialogue des Carmélites (1960)
  • Treno di Natale (1960)
  • Il peccato degli anni verdi (1960)
  • Le gigolo (1960)
  • The Long Absence (1961)
  • La fille du torrent (1961)
  • Il disordine (1962)
  • Homenaje a la hora de la siesta (1962)
  • The Happy Thieves (1962)
  • Al otro lado de la ciudad (1962)
  • L'Autre femme (1963)
  • A la salida (1963)
  • Ophelia (1963)
  • El Valle de las espadasl (1963)
  • El hombre de papel (1963)
  • Umorismo nero (episode "La vedova", 1965)
  • Edipo re (1967)
  • La strategia del ragno (1970)
  • Le champignon (1970)
  • La prima notte di quiete, directed by Valerio Zurlini (1972)
  • L'occhio nel labirinto (1972)
  • Diario di un italiano (1973)
  • La casa dell'esorcismo (1973)
  • No es nada, mamá, sólo un juego (1973)
  • Casa dell'esorcismo, La (aka Lisa and the Devil)
  • L'Anticristo (1974)
  • Tendre Dracula (1974)
  • Il caso Raoul (1975)
  • La Chair de l'orchidée (1975)
  • Ce cher Victor (1975)
  • Novecento (1976)
  • Le jeu du solitaire (1976)
  • Cassandra Crossing (1976)
  • Berlinguer ti voglio bene (1977)
  • Suspiria (1977)
  • Suor Omicidi (Killer Nun)(1978)
  • Un cuore semplice (1978)
  • Porco mondo (1978)
  • Indagine su un delitto perfetto (1978)
  • La luna (1979)
  • Zoo zéro (1979)
  • Inferno (1980)
  • Aquella casa en las afueras (1980)
  • Sezona mira u Parizu (1981)
  • La caduta degli angeli ribelli (1981)
  • Sogni mostruosamente proibiti (1982)
  • Segreti, segreti (1985)
  • Aspern (1985)
  • Le jupon rouge (1987)
  • À notre regrettable époux (1988)
  • La bocca (1991)
  • Zitti e mosca (1991)
  • Bugie rosse (1993)
  • Il lungo silenzio (1993)
  • A Month by the Lake (1995)
  • Fotogrammi mortali (1996)
  • Il dolce rumore della vita (1999)
  • L'amore probabilmente (2000)
  • Vino santo (2000)
  • Semana santa (2002)



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