La Bertini Under Cover

L’amazzone mascherata
R: Baldassarre Negroni. B: Arrigo Frusta. K: Giorgio Ricci. D: Francesca Bertini, Alberto Collo, Emilio Ghione, Leda Gys, Teresa Martini. P: Celio Film. It 1914
Print: Cineteca Nazionale del Cinema / EYE collection
Dutch titles

“Sterosky, an international spy who hides himself as the director of a circus, steals from lieutenant Count Alberto Ferrara, important documents. Ferrara is tried and sentenced to life imprisonment. His wife Francesca, certain of his innocence, tries to find evidences that may exonerate her husband. Soon she begins to suspect Sterosky, and keen to find out more she obtains to get hired as horsewoman in the circus, under the nom de plume The masked rider . Eventually, having find out that Sterosky is the real culprit, Francesca tries to escape, but Sterosky chases her. A servant of the Countess denounces him. Recognized his innocence, Alberto is released, while the real culprit is arrested.”

L’Amazzone mascherata sees Francesca Bertini in the role of Franca de Roberti, a woman who vows to clear the name of her husband after he is framed for treason. (…) After her husband is court-martialled and sent to jail, de Roberti figures out the identity of the one who framed him: Jean Stérosky, circus director and secret Silistrian spy, with whom Franca and her husband had previously organized a show. However, she lacks proof, so she decides to go undercover: ‘I’ll visit him in Silistria, but he won’t recognise me.” She joins a travelling circus and achieves fame as The Masked Amazon. (…)
Editing is rather standard and undistinguished, with a few nice choices: the juxtaposition between the Silistrian Loïe Fuller dancers and Franca looking pensive; a double-exposure in which di Roberti recalls Stérosky and his assistant (played by Leda Gys in blackface as a gypsy-type character); the cross-cutting to Lieutenant di Roberti in his cell as she thinks of him. (…)
Really, L’Amazzone mascherata is more of an adventure story than a diva film; Franca de Roberti spends much more time in plot-driven, self-motivated action than she does in lounging around, emoting, etc. However, being a film starring La Bertini, many diva properties are still in effect.”
Silents, Please!

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