best film: Alida Valli worked with some of the Italian greatest auteurs of their generation (more below in the directors worked with section) but it is the British film with a British director (Carol Reed) and British writer (Graham Greene) The Third Man that prevails as her single best film. Dario Argento’s Suspiria is not far behind- both are towering masterpieces. For The Third Man, Valli shares credit in front of the camera with both of the two Mercury theater buddies: Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles. Cotten plays the lead, and Welles gets one of the most memorable supporting performances in film history, but one could easily argue Valli surpasses both of them with her work.
best performance: Either The Third Man or Senso would be the right answer here. Forced to choose, the edge may go to her most lasting film – The Third Man – but Valli just owns Senso playing the tragic La contessa Livia Serpieri. Senso has the war as a backdrop with the personal love story in the foreground like many epics from War and Peace to Gone with the Wind. Valli is simply sublime. She handles the inner conflict exquisitely without being overly melodramatic.
stylistic innovations/traits: Italian actor Alida Valli has a strong one-two punch with an iconic performance in an easy top 100 film (The Third Man) which even gives her the walk off in one of cinema’s truly great ending scenes. Senso secures Valli’s placement on this list- she gives a tour-de-force emotional performance in a must-see film from an auteur of great standing (Visconti). Looking at Valli’s work in The Third Man and Senso, one could ask if you would rather have Ingrid Bergman (a contemporary of Valli and the best female actor of all-time) in Valli’s place in either role – and the answer here would be “thanks, but no thanks”- which is, of course, a tremendous compliment to Valli. She just had an edge- a touch of stiffer resolve.
directors worked with: Alida Valli worked with Bernardo Bertolucci (2), and Dario Argento (2) and then once a piece with Carol Reed, Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni and Pier Paolo Pasolini. This is a damn all-star team- so she clearly had the regard of the greatest auteurs of her time. It is a bit of a shame that her pair of collaborations with Bertolucci and Argento did not come earlier in her career during her prime in the 1940s and 1950s. Argento, in particular, could have used some better acting in his films and Valli certainly would have qualified as such a talent.
top five performances:
- The Third Man
- Il Grido
- Eyes Without a Face
- The Spider’s Stratagem
|1949- The Third Man|
|1957- Il Grido|
|1960- Eyes Without a Face|
|1967- Oedipus Rex|
|1970- The Spider’s Stratagem|
@Drake-Will Silvano Mangano make this list?
@Malith- I am not going to reveal the list until I reveal the list- but I do not see a strong case for Mangano
@Drake-How many archievable films does Silvano Mangano have? Do you think highly of her as an actress in terms of talent but didn’t have that big performances that are amongst the best of the year?
@Malith- 8 films I believe- a strong career over 30 years. She is just sort of missing that big one or two films that help give her a shot at the list.
1954- The Gold of Naples
1967- Oedipus Rex
1971- Death in Venice
1971- The Decameron
1974- Conversation Piece
@Drake-Isn’t Dark Eyes(1987) in the archives? Oscar nominated film and her last film.
@Malith- Thanks for the help- yes, of course
Thats a crazy group of directors shes worked with