Cortese, Valentina


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Cortese, Valentina

Post by Emiliano » 06/03/2022, 15:54

Valentina Cortese 1961.jpg
Valentina Cortese in Cineguida 1961
Cortese Valentina 1943.jpg
In Cineguida 1943
Valentina Cortese 1956.jpg
In Cineguida 1956
Valetina Cortese 1957.jpg
In Cineguida 1957
Valentina Cortese 1976 2.jpg
In Annuario degli attori 1976
Valentina Cortese 1976 1.jpg
In Annuario degli attori 1976
There was a time when the name of Valentina Cortese (born Valentina Elena Cortese in Milan on Genuary 1, 1923 ­− and deceased in Milan, July 10, 2019), was a synonymous of stardom and glamor: she has been one of the greatest International Italian actresses, who shot in Hollywood, Paris and London.

Green eyes full of fire, pearly skin, charm, haute couture elegance, she was a friend of Princess Grace and Ingrid Bergman, who dedicated her Oscar in the 1975 («She deserved it for the La nuit américaine, not me», Bergman told at the Academy). «I made popcorns at Paul Newman's house and baptized Anthony, Gregory Peck's son,» she said. With her luminous beauty of her and a beautiful stubborn temper she went through a reckless, rich and amused life that she told a few years ago in a book How many are the past tomorrows. He had made his debut at the age of 17 in the 1940s in cinema: first important role in La cena delle beffe (1942) by Alessandro Blasetti, but success had him in I miserabili - Tempesta su Parigi (1947) and Caccia all'uomo (1948).

She had a poor childhood in the Lombard countryside, daughter of an illegitimate bond; little one of her, the young mother had entrusted her to a peasant woman from Agnadello, near Cremona. «I grew up among simple and real people, and in misery, not knowing that it was misery, we lived well even if I ate moldy bread - she told in an interview - I preserved this freedom even when, now a young girl, I went to live with mine grandmother in Turin I owe it to my farmers, my mother Rina whom I then took to La Scala many times, her husband Giuseppe, her children Luigino and Uliva, if I wear the scarf on my head. It was the way they used it in the fields. For me it is like their caress».

In 1948 at the age of 25 she was already in Hollywood, holding a contract with 20th Century Fox, the best known Italian actress, more than Alida Valli and before Sophia Loren. She works and is friends with James Stewart and Spencer Tracy (Malaysia, 1949), Gregory Peck, Charlie Chaplin (with whom she was supposed to be City Lights, but she discovered she was pregnant). International success comes with The Glass Mountain (1949) and Robert Wise's thriller The House on Telegraph Hill (1951). «In Hollywood we drove between one villa and another, villas that looked like sets - he said - Cary Grant invited us for tea in his wonderful garden: once we found him while he was making the small stitch to embroider chairs. said the psychoanalyst. Me? Who I was really going to marry was Fred Astaire: elegant, agile, serious». Instead in '51 she had become the wife of Richard Basehart, a handsome but weak American actor with a habit of drinking, from whom she divorced in 1960, keeping her son Jackie.

But it is Hollywood that turns out to be a severe life lesson. Darryl Zanuk, the head of Fox one night puts his hands on her and she throws a glass of whiskey in his face. «You suck - I yelled at him. It was the end of me. He kept me under contract but doing nothing. Three years. But I didn't give a damn about Hollywood anymore. There was England where the papers wrote «First Garbo, then Bergman, now Cortese». As soon as he can, he escapes and returns to Italy where he wins the Silver Ribbons for Michelangelo Antonioni's Le amiche, and shoots Mankiewicz's La contessa scalza (1954) alongside Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart and Rossano Brazzi, Giulietta degli spiriti (1965) by Federico Fellini.

Sixty-nine films of his career including Callas forever in 2002 by Franco Zeffirelli, of which he had also made Fratello Sole sorella Luna (1971), Via Montenapoleone (1987) by Vanzina, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) by Terry Gilliam alongside by Robin Williams. But in the meantime, there had been the fatal meeting with Giorgio Strehler, the brilliant director of the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. They had met in '58 for Platonov and the others and an ardent love like Cortese's previous one with the conductor Victor De Sabata was born, but even more furious. Together with the Piccolo, Strehler and Cortese will leave unsurpassed masterpieces: El nost Milan of '61, Arlecchino servitore di due padroni, edition of '63, Il gioco dei potenti (1964), I giganti della montagna (1966), up to Il giardino dei ciliegi (1973) and from there the character Ljuba will remain forever linked to the gaze, to the voice, to the sighs of Valentina Cortese.

Unrepeatable performances, also with other directors, the German Klaus Michael Grüber in Il processo di Giovanna d'Arco ('67), and Patrice Chéreau with Lulu by Frank Wedekind (1971). «Giorgio and the Piccolo Teatro were my life. We were all young, talented, crazy for the theater, happy to work and so caught up in this flame». But the quarrels were also incendiary. They lived and worked together for 15 years, they broke up from exhaustion and, she said in her autobiography about her, about a son who died before he was born. She continued to act in the theater until 2009, but elsewhere: with Zeffirelli in Maria Stuarda, in Alda Merini's Magnificat under the direction of Fabio Battistini, in 2000, in 2014 she was applauded by the then president Giorgio Napolitano at the Argentina Theater with a text of the beloved Testori in an evening dedicated to Europe where the director Antonio Calbi had wanted it at all costs, and then gradually until the retirement.

The last great diva of Italian cinema and theater was gone at the age of 96 to her beautiful home, the former convent in Piazza S. Erasmo in Milan, a magical place where she had lived the furious and passionate love with Giorgio Strehler and the placid one with her husband, the pharmaceutical industrialist Carlo De Angelis, who was devoted to her. Here, her glorious parable had, in recent times, become sadder, due to the immobility of old age and the complex relationship with her daughter-in-law Tatiana: friends say that she controlled her, filtered the people who could see her and that she had cleared away in the home of her beloved relics leaves to move her away from her past. The funeral home was at the Piccolo Teatro Grassi in Milan, "her" stage, wanted there by the director Sergio Escobar, followed by the funeral in the church of San Marco. Those close to her say that the death of her only child, Jackie Basehart, in 2015, the joy and pain of her life, was the hardest blow.[1]

Filmography[1, 2]

  • Il bravo di Venezia (1941)
  • Orizzonte dipinto (1941)
  • Primo amore (1941)
  • Giorni felici (1942)
  • La cena delle beffe (1942)
  • Orizzonte di sangue (1942)
  • Regina di Navarra (1942)
  • Soltanto un bacio (1942)
  • Quarta pagina (1942)
  • 4 ragazze sognano (1943)
  • La nuit américaine (1973)
  • I miserabili - Tempesta su Parigi (1947)
  • Caccia all'uomo (1948)
  • Malaysia (1949)
  • The Glass Mountain (1949)
  • The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)
  • La contessa scalza (1954)
  • Giulietta degli spiriti (1965)
  • Fratello Sole sorella Luna (1971)
  • Appassionata (1974) .... Elisa
  • Gli amici di Nick Hezard (1976) .... Nick's mother
  • Via Montenapoleone (1987)
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)
  • Callas forever (2002)
Notes and sources
1. Anna Bandettini. È morta Valentina Cortese, la signora delle scene from La Repubblica.it
2. Dante Lazzaro. Cineguida 1943.

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