Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
A New Edition Biopic Might Be Coming to a Theater Near You If This Fan-Made Trailer Goes Viral A New Edition Biopic Might Be Coming to a Theater Near You If This Fan-Made Trailer Goes Viral HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship Films & TV Series That Are Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library Next Month (March) Films & TV Series That Are Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library Next Month (March) Check Out These Photos of Mo'Nique, Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander & Michael K. WIlliams From HBO's Bessie Smith Bio + Premiere Date Set Check Out These Photos of Mo'Nique, Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander & Michael K. WIlliams From HBO's Bessie Smith Bio + Premiere Date Set Oscars Telecast Ratings at 6-Year Low. So Was Nielsen Right About Correlation Between Black Nominees & Viewers? Oscars Telecast Ratings at 6-Year Low. So Was Nielsen Right About Correlation Between Black Nominees & Viewers? Here's the Story That the Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua 'Magnificent Seven' Remake Will Tell Here's the Story That the Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua 'Magnificent Seven' Remake Will Tell Ava DuVernay Won Ava DuVernay Won Watch Footage From Marlon Wayans' Richard Pryor Audition Tape Watch Footage From Marlon Wayans' Richard Pryor Audition Tape Mike Tyson Went to Algeria to Make the Country's "First Martial Arts Film"... Here's a First Look at the Results Mike Tyson Went to Algeria to Make the Country's "First Martial Arts Film"... Here's a First Look at the Results If You Missed PBS' August Wilson Documentary, 'The Ground on Which I Stand,' Watch It in Full Now! If You Missed PBS' August Wilson Documentary, 'The Ground on Which I Stand,' Watch It in Full Now! Now in Demand: Black Actors - Morris Chestnut Books Starring Role in Investigative Drama Pilot for Fox Now in Demand: Black Actors - Morris Chestnut Books Starring Role in Investigative Drama Pilot for Fox Here's One Reason Why Eddie Murphy's 'SNL' Appearance Was So Awkwardly Brief... Here's One Reason Why Eddie Murphy's 'SNL' Appearance Was So Awkwardly Brief... Now You Can Watch All 10 Oscar Nominated Short Films (Live Action & Animation) Online Now You Can Watch All 10 Oscar Nominated Short Films (Live Action & Animation) Online Jill Marie Jones Scores Female Lead Role in Starz Original Series Based on 'Evil Dead' Film Franchise Jill Marie Jones Scores Female Lead Role in Starz Original Series Based on 'Evil Dead' Film Franchise Mo'Nique's Decision to Not "Play the Industry Game" Gets Her Blacklisted. The Actress Speaks... Mo'Nique's Decision to Not "Play the Industry Game" Gets Her Blacklisted. The Actress Speaks... For the First Time, the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Will Be Broadcast on TV - on OWN For the First Time, the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Will Be Broadcast on TV - on OWN Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' 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) Apparently, Hosting The Oscars Isn't As Coveted A Gig As I Previously Assumed... Apparently, Hosting The Oscars Isn't As Coveted A Gig As I Previously Assumed... 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...

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