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Love of a Clown - Pagliacci (1948)

Pagliacci - Amore tragico (original title)
Recounts the tragedy of Canio, the lead clown in a commedia dell'arte troupe, his wife Nedda, and her lover, Silvio.


Mario Costa


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Complete credited cast:
Tito Gobbi Tito Gobbi ... Tonio, the hunchback / Silvio, the handsome villager
Gina Lollobrigida ... Nedda, wife of Canio
Onelia Fineschi Onelia Fineschi ... Nedda (singing voice)
Afro Poli Afro Poli ... Canio, master of the troupe
Galliano Masini Galliano Masini ... Canio (singing voice)
Filippo Morucci Filippo Morucci ... Beppe, troupe harlequin
Gino Sinimberghi Gino Sinimberghi ... Beppe (singing voice)


Recounts the tragedy of Canio, the lead clown in a commedia dell'arte troupe, his wife Nedda, and her lover, Silvio.

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Plot Keywords:

based on opera | opera | See All (2) »


A new and exciting version of Leoncavallo's complete score and story exactly as he conceived it...filmed in the mountains of Italy.


Drama | Music | Musical


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Did You Know?


One of the first versions of a complete opera filmed partially in outdoor settings, rather than on a stage or a film set. See more »


Version of Pagliacci (1998) See more »

User Reviews

Noirish Opera Film of Some Distinction
5 August 2018 | by joe-pearce-1See all my reviews

As hard as it may be to believe, this film was shown, along with several other Italian opera films of the late 1940s and early 1950s, on WPIX television here in New York City in the early to mid-1950s. They were hodgepodge-like renditions for the most part (Italian producers of opera films had even less faith in the public's acceptance of opera than did their Hollywood counterparts), often with added prologues or epilogues concerning the opera itself, or with voice-over narrations. From the time I first saw this PAGLIACCI (I would say 1952), I've always thought it was the best of all of these films, because it did give the opera close to complete, and the added-on dramatic introduction of how Leoncavallo first came across the subject for his opera was short, if superfluous. (Those reviewers who complain about its absence from current prints don't know what they're missing, but should count their blessings.) Anyway, this is a pretty stark visual rendition of the opera, several times (most especially in its mesmerizing ending) approaching good American film noir in aspect, black and white shadowing, and general cinematography. The four singers heard in the five leading roles (Galliano Masini, Onelia Fineschi, Tito Gobbi and Gino Sinimberghi) were all leading opera stars in Italy at that time, Gobbi going on to become almost certainly the greatest Italian baritone of the second half of the last century. Gobbi is great in both his roles, as the hunchbacked and lecherous Tonio and as the handsome lover Silvio, and his Prologue is gloriously sung and filmed, but for me the star of the film is Afro Poli, a famous baritone himself, but here appearing as Canio and mouthing the ringing voice of Masini. Since he did similar service in other opera films - to the voices of baritone rivals like Gino Bechi and Gian-Giacomo Guelfi, we must assume he had no ego at all!. What he did have, though, was what I always term "an actor's face", granite-like in its aspect, and in this particular film, with his hair whitened to indicate Canio's age, he looks rather impressively like Boris Karloff in that same stage of his career when he was working for Val Lewton. Sinimberghi, a heavy-set but quite handsome tenor sings Beppe in this one but does not appear in it, while, like Poli, he did appear in others of these opera films mouthing some other ringing Italian tenor voices (most especially, Antonio Salvarezza's, although Salvarezza was actually from Argentina). Gina L. looks very beautiful, but despite some publicity given to the fact that she could sing soprano, she does not do so here, but mouths for the excellent Fineschi. And despite some really awful dubbing (you really had to go to M-G-M in the Grayson-Melchior-Lanza era to see singers who really looked like they were singing rather than just mouthing the notes; the Italians never seemed to care, even going all the way back to Gigli's earliest films), you get used to it pretty quickly and from there on it's all clear sailing. As opera films of this period go, this is a tremendously 'vital' one that might even appeal to non-lovers of Italian opera. (You might want to think of it as the Boris Karloff film you always wanted to see, but missed!)

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Release Date:

16 April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Love of a Clown - Pagliacci See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Itala Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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