Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. Angelina Jolie Wants to Take on 'Africa' Angelina Jolie Wants to Take on 'Africa' Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Trailer: UP Original Movie 'My Other Mother' (Lynn Whitfield, Essence Atkins, Jasmine Guy) Debuts 9/21 Trailer: UP Original Movie 'My Other Mother' (Lynn Whitfield, Essence Atkins, Jasmine Guy) Debuts 9/21 Wendy Williams is Crushing the Competition in the Ratings, as Queen Latifah's Show Struggles In Last Place Wendy Williams is Crushing the Competition in the Ratings, as Queen Latifah's Show Struggles In Last Place 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Watch First Full Trailer For 'Black-ish' Starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne Watch First Full Trailer For 'Black-ish' Starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More) Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More)

This Week In Cinema History - Clemente Fracassi's 'Aida' (1953)

Shadow and Act By Emmanuel Akitobi | Shadow and Act October 11, 2012 at 11:21AM

This week in cinema history, 59 years ago, Italian screen legend Sophia Loren got her first big acting break as an Ethiopian slave in the titular role of director Clemente Fracassi's film adaptation of Giuseppe Verdi's opera, Aida.
5
Loren_Aida

This week in cinema history, 59 years ago, Italian screen legend Sophia Loren got her first big acting break as an Ethiopian slave in the titular role of director Clemente Fracassi's film adaptation of Giuseppe Verdi's opera, Aida.

AP

The film tells the story of Ethiopian princess Aida, who is kidnapped into slavery in Egypt.  Aida becomes romantically involved with Egyptian army officer Radames (Luciano della Marra), further complicating her plight, as she is enslaved to the Pharaoh's daughter Amneris (Lois Maxwell), who also loves Radames.

Fracassi's Aida is especially notable for its use of dark make-up on the face and body of Loren, and the thick braided wig she wore; an apparent attempt at adding authenticity to her portrayal of a black African princess.  This, of course, was a common practice of that time.  In addition to black characters, the roles of Native American, Hispanic, and Asian characters were often portrayed by white actors.

With regard to Fracassi's Aida, the case could possibly be made that one would have been hard-pressed to find a black actress in 1959, who was fluent in Italian, to fill the role.  But like I said, we're talking 1959, so that may not have been an option for a black actress anyway.

headley

Fast-forward to the year 2000, where we saw dark-skinned black actress Heather Headley step into the lead role of Broadway production Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, and walk away with the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.  Yet when the possibility of adapting the 2000 stage production to the big-screen became a near reality in 2007, singer Beyonce Knowles was reportedly the top contender for the lead role.

knowles

That project never came to be, but perhaps the idea of a contemporary screen adaptation can be revisited.

Who would you cast as Aida in 2012?

This article is related to: Heather Headley, Beyoncé Knowles, Sophia Loren


Shadow & ActNewsletter