Silent Film Stars

Lola Salvi – Italian Beauty

Lola Salvi - Italian beauty (Bizarre Los Angeles)

LOLA SALVI STARTS NEAR TOP

May 22, 1928

Lola Salvi [real name: Marcella Battelini] , winner of the Fox contest to establish the most beautiful girl in Italy, has been launched on her motion picture career as a featured player in “Plastered in Paris,” a big comedy drama. She is a native of Trieste, and came to the United States last summer after being selected from among thousands of entrants in the contest.

In the interim, Miss Salvi has been absorbing acting techniques and learning English. That she was not cast first in a small “bit,” as is usually the case with a beginner in the movies speaks well for her acting ability and mastery of the language. Her mother, who accompanied her to Hollywood, has had much to do with her success in an advisory capacity.

 

Learned English Then Part Called For Italian Again

June 12, 1929

Lola Salvi, who won a beauty contest conducted in Italy and thereby a contract with Fox Films, tried out for a role in a talking picture, “In Old Arizona,” Raoul Walsh production…

The speaking role called for her to play a little Italian girl with a fairly pronounced dialect, which brought out a strange situation.

In the year that little Miss Salvi has been in Hollywood she diligently studied to master the English language, and she succeeded so well that she obliterated every trace of dialect in her speech.

When it came time to talk, and in dialect, she had almost as much difficulty getting back her broken Italian as she formerly had in eliminating it.

 

Additional Info: Although Salvi was cast In Old Arizona, she ended up with an uncredited role. She then finished her contract by playing a maid in Thru Different Eyes (1929) before being unceremoniously dropped by Fox.

Fox never spent much money building her into a star. In fact, the studio may have used the beauty contest to gain more inroads into the Italian film exhibition market.

Following the end of her contract, Salvi agreed to co-star with another outcast Fox contest winner, Olympio Guilherme. Guilherme had worked as a journalist in Brazil before signing with Fox. Then later, much to his disappointment, Fox released him after he had spent months learning English.

Guilherme decided to make his own film. Using hidden cameras on the streets of Los Angeles, he and Salvi interacted with each other as well as other Angelenos, who didn’t know they were being filmed. As a result, he completed “Hunger,” a drama that depicted the hardships of Latino Americans trying to survive in Los Angeles in the late 1920s.

 

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