Magnani Anna

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Magnani Anna


Born Mar. 7, 1908, in Alexandria, Egypt; died Sept. 26, 1973, in Rome. Italian actress.

Magnani studied at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Rome. She began acting in 1926 (drama, revues, vaudeville). She made her film debut in 1934; in 1941 she won acclaim for the film Teresa Venerdi, in which she played the title role. Magnani was particularly good at portraying earthy Italian types. She reached the height of her acting career in Italian neorealist films and was one of the outstanding actresses of the movement.

Beginning with the role of Pina in the film Open City (1945), Anna Magnani played in many films directed by neorealists, including Deputy Angelina (1947), Molti sogni per la strada (Dreams of the Road; 1948), and Bellissima (1951). Magnani was at her best in tragicomedy roles. Her profoundly realistic style of acting was distinguished by pathos, irony, and passionate feeling. The heroines Magnani portrayed had a stubborn and fervent faith in the right to happiness. During the years of the crisis of neorealism, Magnani acted in Hollywood films (The Rose Tattoo, 1955). On returning to Italy she played in the films Suora Letizia (Sister Letizia; 1957) and Nella cittd rinferno (The City Inferno; 1959). Magnani’s outstanding role was in Mamma Roma (1962), a film with a heavy social slant.

In the 1960’s, Magnani returned to the dramatic theater and played the main role in La lupa (The She-wolf) by G. Vergi (toured the USSR in 1965). From 1970 she acted mainly in television films.


Shershova, A. “Anna Man’iani.” In Aktery zarubezhnogo kino, vol. 5. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.