TORQUATO TASSO / TORQUATO TASSO
Italy, S. A. Ambrosio, 1909, 13 minutes
Restored by Gosfilmofond. DCP
Director: Luigi Maggi (?), Roberto Omegna (?)
Director of photography: Giovanni Vitrotti
Cast: Luigi Maggi (Torquato Tasso); Mary Cleo Tarlarini, Alberto A. Capozzi, Mario Voller-Buzzi, Oreste Grandi, Serafino Vite, Ernesto Vaser, Ercole Vaser, Mirra Principi (?)
Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) is an important figure in the history of Italian literature, a poet and playwright who gained posthumous fame because of his heroic poem “Jerusalem Delivered”. He spent more than 20 years creating this epic work about the clash between Christians and Muslims during the First Crusade up to the Christian conquest of Jerusalem.
Italian cinema of the late 1900s-early 1910s drew plots from national history, including the works by Torquato Tasso. In addition to the almost unknown 1911 Italian screen adaptation of the play “Aminta” directed by Giuseppe Berardi for Helios Film, during the silent film era, the poet's biography and his famous masterpiece formed the basis of four films: “Torquato Tasso” (1909), “Torquato Tasso” (1914), “Jerusalem Delivered” (1911), and “Jerusalem Delivered” (1918).
Until recently, only the 1918 "Jerusalem Delivered" was considered extant, but as a result of research, three more films were attributed. All of them, partially or completely, have been preserved in the Gosfilmofond archives.
The first film about the life of Torquato Tasso was produced by Società Anonima Ambrosio, Turin’s leading film studio. Sources differ as to who was its the director: Luigi Maggi (Italian actor and silent film director who also played the role of Tasso) or Roberto Omegna (an Ambrosio partner since its inception, who was mainly in charge of in producing newsreels).
The archive of the Gosfilmofond of Russia contains a black-and-white triacetate intermediate negative and a positive copy of the film. The source for the intermediate negative was a nitrate positive copy that was subject to hydrolysis (and for this reason was subsequently disposed of). The film, like “Judith and Holofernes”, was acquired by Gosfilmofond in 1967 from the collection of the pre-revolutionary distributor Sergei Osipov. The one-part film (most likely still a nitrate positive copy) was divided into two reels and kept under the provisional title "The First Minutes of Tasso’s Madness", taken from the first intertitle of the second reel. Despite all of the above, the copy is complete and corresponds to the original.
The film was scanned at 2K. Stabilization, cleaning, and elimination of image flickering were performed. A high-quality DCP copy is currently available for screening in film theaters and may be included in curated programs and screenings of archival films.
Invited by Duke Alfonso II to the court of Ferrara to read his poems, the poet Torquato Tasso finds himself at the center of court intrigue because of his secret love for the Duke’s sister, Eleanora d’Este.