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Silvana Mangano

Silvana Mangano, photo credit unknown


Silvana Mangano (April 21, 1930 - December 16, 1989) was the most sexy actress of Italy's neo-realistic period. She was born in Rome, Italy. Trained as a dancer, she was supporting herself as a model.

In 1946, at 16, Mangano won the Miss Rome beauty pageant. One year later she was one of the girls in the Miss Italia contest. Potential actress Lucia Bose became "The Queen", among Mangano and some other future stars of Italian cinema like as Gina Lollobrigida, Eleonora Rossi Drago and Gianna Maria Canale.

Mangano's earliest connection with filmmaking occurred through her romantic relationship with actor Marcello Mastroianni. This led her to a movie contract, though it would take sometime for Mangano to ascend to international stardom with her stunning performance in Bitter Rice (Riso Amaro, Giuseppe De Santis, 1949).

Though she never scaled the heights of her contemporaries Sophia Loren and Lollobrigida, Mangano remained a favorite star between the 1950s and 1970s, appearing in Anna (Alberto Lattuada, 1951), The Gold of Naples (L' Oro di Napoli, Vittorio De Sica, 1954), Mambo (Robert Rossen, 1955), Theorem (Teorema, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968), and Death in Venice (Morte a Venezia, Luchino Visconti, 1971).

Married to Bitter Rice producer Dino De Laurentiis, Mangano had four children, one of whom, daughter Raffaela, coproduced with his father the Mangano's next-to-last film Dune (David Lynch, 1984).

Silvana Mangano died of lung cancer in Madrid, Spain, at 59 years of age. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvana_Mangano [Aug 2005]

Riso Amaro/Bitter Rice (1949) - Giuseppe De Santis

Silvana Mangano in
Bitter Rice / Riso Amaro (1949) - Giuseppe De Santis

  • Bitter Rice (1949) - Giuseppe De Santis [Amazon.com] Description
    One of Italy's most commercially successful films, Bitter Rice packed theaters around the world despite being banned by the Legion of Decency in the United States. Though intended as a scathing indictment of harsh conditions endured by women laboring in Italy's rice fields, the film's enormous popularity was largely attributed to the erotic appeal of young Silvana Mangano. The former Miss Rome became a star overnight for her sultry debut as an impoverished yet voluptuous laborer who turns down the chance to emigrate to a better life in South America in favor of a steamy affair with her best friend's lover. Ironically, Marxist writer and director Giuseppe De Santis, one of the founders of Italy's post-World War II neorealist movement, virtually brought the genre to an end with Bitter Rice by demonstrating that sex was a far greater draw than social criticism.

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