Isa Pola was born Maria Luisa Betti di Montesano on December 19, 1909 in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. At a very young age she developed a passion for acting and film. Beautiful, photogenic, shapely with an intriguing and almost perverse charm, she chose the stage name Isa Pola, and began her career in silent films in 1927 in the film “I martiri d'Italia” directed by Silvio Laurenti Rosa where she appeared in a small role. That was followed with some small appearances in which she seemed destined to impersonate enchantresses and heartthrobs. Isa then performed in her first major role in “Myriam” by Enrico Guazzoni. During this time she also had a stage career with appearances from 1936 to 1958.
It was the advent of sound that gave a turning point to her career playing in 1930, in the first Italian sound film: “La canzone dell'amore” directed by Gennaro Righelli. From the movie Isa Pola, along with Dria Paola, one of the first real divas of sound film. With her photogenic, frankness and pleasant voice, she broke the Italian tradition of the languid and mawkish, as well as a bit elderly, divas of the silent screen.
In 1942 Isa appeared as Arriana/Ariene in what many consider the first Spaghetti western: “The Girl of the Golden West.
She became a huge celebrity of the big screen showing great versatility, playing alongside the such stars of the era as Fosco Giachetti, Gino Cervi, Rossano Brazzi, Antonio Centa and playing roles of wicked and insatiable women, to the honest and virtuous wife, and that of the helpless girl. Memorable was her portrayal of the wife of Emilio Cigoli who cheats on her husband with Adriano Rimoldi in “I bambini ci guardano” directed by Vittorio De Sica in 1943.
Pola was active in film until the end of the 1950s and then her film activity was reduced although she would appear on television. Her final film appearance was in the comedy “Come un uomo e una donna” directed by Domenico Campana in 1970.
She died in Milan, Italy, where she had retired to private life, on December 17, 1984, two days before his seventy-fifth birthday.
Today we remember the star of the first Spaghetti western Isa Pola on what would have been her 105th birthday.
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