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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Diabolikal Year Ender!

For the 1967 Mario Bava directed movie "Danger: Diabolik!" with John Phillip Law as Diabolik and Marisa Mell as Lady Eva Kant the promotional department of the production company took a lot of photographs of its stars. Many of these photo's were only taken for publication in newspapers, movie and fashion magazines and had little or nothing to do with the content of the movie. This is one of those pictures that shows Marisa Mell dressed as Eva Kant in a very high fashion outfit of that time! The picture comes from the archives of "United Press International", a press agency situated originally in Chicago (USA), now in New York City. Fashion in the 60's was daring and fun. This is a prime example of that attitude from that time. The photo has hardly been seen in more than 40 years!
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The Marisa Mell Blog now closes its 3rd calender year of blogging and will return in January 2011. I wish everybody of the many thousands who have kept coming back this past year again and again to read up on the life and work of Marisa Mell a "Merry X-mas" and a "Happy New Year".

Monday, December 6, 2010

La Voce del Western Italiano!

When you are a genuine fan of the Italian Western then you are certainly familiar with the excellent: Spagehettiwestern database - Il database del Western Italiano.
This site is a real treasure trove for everything connected to the Italian Western which is a huge undertaking knowing that during the height of this genre there were around 800 westerns made in Italy and Spain. So they have a lot of material to cover. Marisa Mell could not escape during her career this very popular movie genre in the 60's and 70's and made thus several spaghetti westerns.Now the people responsable behind the Italian Western Database have made a documentary about their beloved movies. It took a while to complete this film but the first part of the triology is at last available. Let's hear what they have to say about their work of love:
"Destinato ad influenzare per anni, e ancor oggi, tanti altri generi, il Western italiano non ha mai avuto una voce. La voce di una critica più ampia. Questo documentario vuole essere quella voce. Vuol essere un lungo plauso a un genere poco conosciuto, poco capito ma soprattutto troppo poco amato per quanto invece esso non abbia fatto per il Cinema non solo italiano ma anche estero. Il Western italiano ha avuto molto più di una storia, ha avuto una identità. E come tutte le identità la sua storia non è mai finita. In un appassionante viaggio tra la filmografia di svariato genere, il documentario mette in luce le contaminazioni che il Cinema Western ha saputo dare ad opere divenute poi di prestigio e ricoperte di premi. Un'influenza avvenuta sempre in silenzio. Quello stesso silenzio che tanto caratterizzava certi suoi tipici eroi dagli occhi di ghiaccio. I premi per molti di questi grandi film Western non sono però mai arrivati. La Voce del Western, con un velo di provocazione ma con tanto amore verso questo genere, intende raccontare di come a volte i premi dimentichino di dare merito alle fonti di tante ricchezze, solo perchè sono fonti silenziose. Dedicato agli amanti del genere ma pensato per chi quel genere non lo conosce, forse non lo ha neanche mai apprezzato, convinto che dietro i mantelli dei cowboy della produzione italiana ci fossero solo pistole e cavalcate. Questo viaggio vi mostrerà quant'altro c'era da scoprire. La follia, la distruzione, la vendetta, la pietà, la rinascita, l’amore e poi la vita del West che rendeva tutto più difficile e la violenza che sembrava essere l'unica risposta possibile. Il Cinema deve tanto alla sofferta onestà con la quale il Western sapeva parlare di temi così distanti mescolandoli, come del resto voleva la grande lezione della tragedia greca, in un’unica complessa trama che è l'uomo.La critica cinematografica per anni ha sottovalutato una lettura più approfondita di molti di questi film, ma soprattutto ha ignorato come molti registi da Tarantino a Jarmusch si siano ispirati a questi film. Ha ignorato come ogni regista italiano raccontava nei suoi western, il suo mondo, il suo viaggio,le sue passioni. Perchè il West, con quel deserto che anche la critica dimenticava, con i suoi spazi aridi per molti di questi grandi autori è stata una sfida e alcuni di essi proprio li, vi hanno lasciato le loro opere migliori."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Voice of Thousands!

A few months ago, I had an entry about the life of one the best known female voice actresses in the Eurocult realm by the name of Carolyn de Fonseca. She was the English voice of almost all the known Eurocult actresses like Dagmar Lassander, Anita Ekberg, Rosalba Neri, Barbara Steele and... of course Marisa Mell in "La Belva col Mitra".

What few people know is that she was married to probably the biggest male voice actor in the history of the Eurocult movie business: Ted Rusoff. In the November-December 2010 issue of Video Watchdog # 159, John Charles has an in-depth interview with this voice giant about his life and career during the past 40 years as the voice of actors in more than a 1000 movies (!). The article has several exclusive photo's of him together with his late wife Caroline de Fonseca. Fans of Marisa Mell might remember his voice of a priest in the giallo "Sette Orchidee Macchiate di Rosso" from 1971 directed by Umberto Lenzi. After reading the article you know the in's and out's of (Eurocult) voice dubbing and it's history. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Komödien, so bitter wie das Leben! Mario Monicelli (1915-2010)

Casanova '70
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Virtuose der Revolution: Mario Monicelli, einer der großen Regisseure der italienischen Nachkriegszeit, ist im Alter von 95 Jahren verstorben. Von schwerer Krankheit gezeichnet, beging er Selbstmord in einem Krankenhaus in Rom. Eine Handvoll kleiner Diebe und Herumtreiber will ein Pfandleihhaus in Rom überfallen. Um in den Raum mit dem Safe zu gelangen, verschaffen sie sich Zutritt zur angrenzenden Wohnung zweier alter Damen, deren venezianische Hausangestellte mit Peppe (Vittorio Gassman), dem Herzensbrecher der Gruppe, ein Techtelmechtel hat. Doch der Coup, zum dem Tiberio (Marcello Mastroianni) mit eingegipstem Arm erscheint, geht schief. Statt durch die Mauer zum Safezimmer brechen die Gauner nur durch die Zwischenwand zur Küche, in der das Hausmädchen einen Topf mit Kichererbsenpasta vorbereitet hat. Statt an den Reichtümern des Leihhauses laben sie sich an der Pasta, bevor der Morgen graut und das Idyll beendet. Ein Wecker, die einzig greifbare Beute des Raubzugs, schrillt ausgerechnet in dem Moment los, als Peppe und sein Kumpel Capannelle von zwei misstrauischen Carabinieri ins Auge gefasst werden. „I soliti ignoti“, der Film, der diese Geschichte erzählt - auf Deutsch hieß er „Diebe haben's schwer“ - war der Überraschungserfolg des Jahres 1958 und ein Wendepunkt des italienischen Kinos. Er bewies, dass man die soziale Wirklichkeit der Nachkriegszeit auch mit komödiantischen Mitteln zeigen konnte - und dass Filmkomödien keine lebensfernen Schwänke sein mussten, sondern der erschlaffenden Bewegung des Neorealismus neuen ästhetischen Schwung geben konnten. Er verhalf seinen bis dahin nur mäßig bekannten Hauptdarstellern Vittorio Gassman und Marcello Mastroianni zu internationalem Ruhm. Und er sicherte seinem Regisseur, der zuvor hauptsächlich als routinierter Handwerker von Farcen und Melodramen hervorgetreten war, einen Platz unter den Meistern des italienischen Kinos: Mario Monicelli. Sophia Loren und Luigi Proietti in Monicellis „Mortadella” von 1971
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Für Monicelli, 1915 als Sohn eines Theaterkritikers im toskanischen Viareggio geboren, war die Commedia all'italiana ein Geschenk des Schicksals und eine Last zugleich. Sie entsprach seinem zwiespältigen, aus Sarkasmus und Resignation gemischten Verhältnis zur Gegenwart seines Landes, aber sie setzte seinen künstlerischen Ambitionen auch enge Grenzen. In „La grande guerra“ („Man nannte es den großen Krieg“), seinem nächsten Projekt nach den „Soliti ignoti“, trieb er das Wechselspiel aus Komik und Tragik so weit, dass es die Form fast sprengte; auch deshalb ist die Geschichte zweier Überlebenskünstler (gespielt von Alberto Sordi und Vittorio Gassman) auf den Schlachtfeldern des Ersten Weltkriegs vermutlich sein bester Film.
Claudia Cardinale in der Episode: „Gespielin Armenia oder: Zimmer frei mit Musikbox” von 1966
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Monicellis Versuch, mit „I compagni“ („Die Peitsche im Genick“) eine politische Parabel über Solidarität und Klassenkampf zu erzählen, wurde dagegen vom Publikum abgelehnt. Mit „L'armata Brancaleone“ und „La ragazzo con la pistola“ kehrte er deshalb Ende der sechziger Jahre zu den Stoffen zurück, die man von ihm erwartete: lebenspralle, mit Sprachwitz gesättigte Alltagsgrotesken, die aus den Versatzstücken anderer Kinogenres - hier der Mittelalter-, dort der Mafiafilm - szenische Funken schlugen.

Marisa Mell und Marcello Mastroianni in Casanova '70 von 1965
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Sein zweiter großer Kinoerfolg gelang Monicelli dann 1975 mit „Amici miei“ („Ein irres Klassentreffen“), einem sarkastischen Gruppen- und Generationenporträt, das erkennbar an den berühmten Vorgänger von 1975 angelehnt war. Als er die Geschichte sieben Jahre später weitererzählte, war die hohe Zeit der italienischen Filmkomödien schon wieder vorbei; „Amici miei atto II“ („Meine Freunde“) wirkte wie ein Abgesang. Sein Land, hat Monicelli in einem seiner letzten Interviews gesagt, brauche eine Revolution, nur so könne es zu sich selbst zurückfinden. Als Regisseur ist er dieser Revolution auf virtuose Weise aus dem Weg gegangen. Am Montag hat sich Mario Monicelli, der wegen Prostatakrebs in einem römischen Krankenhaus behandelt wurde, aus einem Fenster in den Tod gestürzt. Er wurde fünfundneunzig Jahre alt. (c) FAZ-Andreas Kilb

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Thanks to André Schneider for sending me this information!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Films of Suso Cecchi D’Amico

On July 31st 2010, one of Italy's greatest screenwriters Suso Cecchi D’Amico died at the age of 96! To fans of Marisa Mell, she is best known as the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of the 1965 Mario Moncelli directed movie "Casanova '70" with Marcello Mastroianni as leading man Andrea Rossi-Colombotti and Marisa Mell as Thelma. In honor of this great lady of Italian movie making the Film Society of Lincoln Centre in New York is showing this week from November 26th untill December 1st 2010 several of her majestic movies like among others "Rocco and his brothers" with a superb Alain Delon, "White Nights" with the always reliable Maria Schell and Jean Marais or "Conversation Piece" with Marisa Mell friend Helmut Berger, all movies directed by Lucino Visconti.
Richard Peña, director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, talked to David Savage of Cinema Retro about this talented screenwriter:

Cinema Retro: A tribute organized around a screenwriter is fairly rare. Why did you choose this specific screenwriter for a tribute?

Richard Pena: Perhaps, but Suso was an extraordinarily special screenwriter. Having recently done a lot of work on Italian cinema, I was startled to see how often her name figured in the credits of so many masterworks. She was an extraordinary talent, and her passing is a loss for all who love film.

CR: Do you think her career was overshadowed by her collaboration with such auteurist names in Italian cinema, such as Visconti, Monicelli, et al? It seems as though a woman would have a hard time holding her own against such huge egos?

RP: My sense is that this had as much to do with the contemporary lionization of film directors as it did plain old sexism. From what I've heard about her, she held her own with the boys.

CR: Can you identify a common thread or characteristic style that belongs to Cecchi d’Amico’s dialogue or characterizations?

RP: With over 100 screenplays to her credit, that becomes difficult; moreover, I've seen at best 50% of them. I think she often likes to focus on a character who takes a decisive action and then study the consequences of that action on those around him/her.

CR: Do you consider her an innovator in screenwriting?

RP: I'm not the best person to answer that question. I think she had a good sense of when to let the action play out on its own rhythms--to under-script, as opposed to an overly determined writing style.

CR: Can you trace any effect she had on any one American screenwriter in particular?

RP: A certain group of American filmmakers have tried to capture the spirit or even adapt "Big Deal on Madonna Street. Whit Stillman would be someone who I'm sure really admires Suso's work.

CR: Do you know how much control she exerted over her own screenplays in terms of the liberties the directors were allowed to take, i.e., was she territorial about her dialogue?

RP: I'm frankly not sure about that, but why hire Suso Cecchi D'Amico if you don't want her work?

CR: Aspiring screenwriters will come to this program, hopefully. What are you hoping they take away?

RP: I hope they sense how carefully structured her screenplays were. There's always a good sense of architecture to her screenplays, even when they leave lots of space for the director.

CR: If you had to choose one film in the line-up that is a definite don’t miss, what would your choice be? Why?

RP: I would say Violent Summer, as it's really an amazingly great film and not that well known. A chance for people to discover not only Suso's work, but that of Valerio Zurlini, a wonderful yet little-known filmmaker as well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Who am I?" (Can you solve this mystery?)

Last night I saw for the first time the Austrian 1961 production "Der Ruf der Wildgänse" based on the then famous book by Martha Ostenso.
It tells the story of an immigrant family living in the outback in Canada at the beginning of the 20th century. The father rules his family and the nearby trading post with iron hand untill disaster strikes. Marisa Mell, in her early twenties, played the eldest daughter "Judith" having enough of the tyrany of her father. It's what the German's call a "Heimat"-movie. The exterior scenes were completely shot in Canada which at that time was very expensive to do and an absolute rarity for an Austrian movie production to fly all the way to the other side of the world to shoot on location. The interior scenes were shot in Vienna on a sound stage! The cast was made up by mainly Austrian and some German actors and actresses like Horst Janson, Gertraud Jesserer and...Hans H. Neubert.
Wenn you follow the career of Marisa Mell you come across a lot of known names of Eurocult stars in her filmography like John Phillip Law, Adolpho Celi, Robert Hossein, Jean Marais, Ursula Andress, Virna Lisi, Claudine Auger, Ushi Glass, Bruno Cremer, Antonio Sabbatto sr.... the list goes on and on... but then... you stumble across a name that you have never heard off: "Hans H. Neubert". Who???
Thankfully in this day and age you have the internet as a never ending source of information on everything that your heart desires. So a quick check on IMDB, Wikipedia and some specialised cult movie sites will give you a quick answer who this guy is, where he comes from and what he has done in his life at that point in time to gain a place in a movie with Marisa Mell. Mmmmm! Strange! There is not much to be found about this actor! Only IMDB gives him about 8 acting roles where 4 of them are roles in television movies and 4 are roles in cinema movies that hardly anybody remembers to this day. Of them all the best known film is a 1961 French western directed by Robert Hossein called "Le Goût de la Violence" with Robert Hossein and Mario Adorf in the main parts. For the rest there is not much else to be found about him. No date of birth or death, no reasons why he stopped filming around 1967, no mentioning what he did after his film career or what he is doing now! This actor is to me a complete mystery.

CAN YOU SOLVE THIS MYSTERY???

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Death of a Legend-Dino De Laurentiis dies at age 91!

Dino De Laurentiis, an Academy Award-winning film impresario and producer who helped revolutionize the way movies are bankrolled and sold, has died. He was 91. The Academy Award-winning producer's daughter said her father was surrounded by family when he died Wednesday night at his home in Beverly Hills. The statement from Raffaella De Laurentiis did not give a cause of death. De Laurentiis was a legend of Italian New Wave filmmaking. His works also included "Bitter Rice," "La Strada", "Barbarella" and of course the cult movie "Danger: Diabolik!" with among others Marisa Mell as Lady Eva Kant, the partner in crime with the dark hero Diabolik.
He was tiny, but tough, a veritable Napoleon on the set and utterly tireless. "Such a little lion," was how his second wife, producer Martha De Laurentiis, put it when he turned 80. Like any larger-than-life movie figure, De Laurentiis went through boom times and busts. But he always bounced back and his passion for movies never dimmed. His career spanned hundreds of films, including several Oscar winners and he worked with some of the biggest stars and best directors in the business. His credits include box office and/or critical successes such as "U-571", "War and Peace," "Ragtime," "Three Days of the Condor" and "Blue Velvet." A pivotal figure in postwar Italian cinema, De Laurentiis moved to the United States in the 1970s, becoming a citizen in 1986. But this son of a Neapolitan pasta maker never lost his thick Italian accent and tried to spend a month in Capri and Rome each year. The Academy Award-winning "Serpico" in 1973 with Al Pacino was De Laurentiis' Hollywood debut. But by then, he already had two Italian-made Oscar-winners, Federico Fellini's "La Strada" and "Nights of Cabiria" to his credit. One of the first producers to understand the box-office potential of foreign audiences, he helped invent international co-productions, raising money by pre-selling distribution rights outside North America. Throughout his career, he alternated lavish, big-budget productions with less commercial films by directors such as Robert Altman, Ingmar Bergman and David Lynch, and he's often package the blockbusters with art films to secure distribution for the smaller films. He got off to a strong start in the United States with "Serpico", then followed it up with another success, "Three days of the Condor," (Robert Redford). But he was also battered by flops, including the infamous "Dune", in 1984 and "King Kong" sequel. Personal tragedy also took its toll. In 1981, his son Federico was killed in a plane crash. "My father still to this day can't speak of him...He told me that every morning he wakes up and thinks of him," De Laurentiis' daughter Veronica said nearly 30 years after Federico's death.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Esci Diabolik!" by Fabrizio Canciani and Stefano Covri

The Italian comic "Diabolik" and his "Mario Bava" directed movie counterpart "Danger:Diabolik!" hold, after more than 40 years, still a firm grip on the cultural scene all over the world. This blog has often reported about the influence of this black hero and his partner in crime "Lady Eva Kant", played by Marisa Mell in the before mentioned movie, on the arts.
This time Italian singers/songwriters Fabrizio Canciani and Stefano Covri tackled this subject in their song "Esci Diabolik" from their album "Delitti e Canzoni"-Il Giallo In Musica. The song is the second title on the album. The musicians used the familiar "Wa Wa Wa" title from the original movie soundtrack by Ennio Morricone to open their song. After the intro the song becomes a very likeable jazzy inspired song with a lot of musical reference and style to another Italian jazzy singer "Paolo Conti". The video is a collage of the giallo a fumetti Diabolik and the movie that it spawned. Enjoy!





Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back out of hell!

On november 10th, it will be 45 years ago that the 1965 movie "Train D'Enfer" had its French première. The film is directed by Gilles Grangier starring Jean Marais, best known for his Fantomas trilogy with Louis de Funès, as Antoine Donadieu, a French secret agent à la James Bond and Marisa Mell as Frieda his counterpart in this espionage story. Outside of some rare tv broadcasts, this movie has been rarely seen and never had an official DVD release. So I was very pleased to see that a clip from this movie appeared on the Net yesterday giving me a glimpse for the first time of this rare Marisa Mell movie. In this version of the movie Marisa Mell has been horriblely dubbed with a high pitch French voice while her own voice was very husky and seductive.

video

Thanks to "Drayton64" for uploading this clip!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This is not a movie!

The 70's were not entirely a fun period in Italy and Europe with new music, new bands, new film trends and fashions but it was also a period of great political upheaval especially in Italy with the Red Brigades and Germany with the Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF). Two (extreme) left groups trying to destabilize the political and civilian order at that time in Italy and Germany by planning and executing terrorists attacts on governmental and civilian targets.
It was a time of a lot terrorist attacts in both countries. This was one of the reasons why in Italy a new film genre became a runaway success called the "Poliziottesco movies". What people saw in the movies happened in real life on their streets in front of their eyes and front porches of their homes. Killings, violence, blasting bombs, car chases in city streets... you name it - it happened. The evening news was often full of those stories again and again. Sadly reality is that it is not a movie so the spiral of violence reached its peak in 1978 in Italy when on March 16th 1978 the former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro got kidnapped by the Brigate Rosse.

The tension in Italy during that time among the politicians, civilians and army was extreme. The political establishment did not know how to handle this crisis and the fear of complete chaos and revolution was very real. The entire country was in a state of alert. All the major roads into the major cities in Italy had road blocks with police and army garding and inspecting the traffic in and out these cities. Rome was no exception. In the week of March 31st 1978, Marisa Mell decided to make a trip to the country side with her mother when, around 50 kilometers outside Rome in the village of Cerveteri she was halted and ordered to open the trunk of her Mercedes. After inspection she could continue her trip. So even she could not escape the political reality in Italy. On May 9th 1978, Aldo Moro was found dead in a parked Renault 4 after 55 days of being kidnapped!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life is not like a box of chocolates more like a stable full of shit!

If Marisa Mell knew this famous sentence from the movie "Forrest Gump" she would have surely thought it while modeling for this photo shoot but that was not the case since the 1994 "Tom Hanks" movie came out after her death in 1992. Nevertheless this photo is one of the most strange pictures ever taken of Marisa Mell as a model. Whenever fans are talking about Marisa Mell in relation to photographers almost always the name of Angelo Frontoni comes up. His name will eternally be linked to hers but there is also another very famous photographer who worked with her and was the brain (!) behind this picture. His name was "Howell Conant". Howell Conant (1917-1999) was a photographer mostly working for the ultra American life and life style magazine called "Life Magazine". He rose to world fame when he became in the 50's the court photographer of the Grimaldi family in Monaco when one of his best friends actress Grace Kelly became Princess Gracia after her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco.
So for the January 28th 1966 issue of this magazine the editor had the brilliant idea of making an article about the rising European female stars and starlets. Hence entered staff photographer Howell Conant. He got the assignment to shoot these beautifull women like Catherine Deneuve and her sister Françoise Dorléac, Susannah York, Marilu Tolu, Stephania Sandrelli and many others for the article in an unusual setting. In the article you can see the ladies lying between water melons, around dogs, in the grass, between windows... and Marisa Mell was so lucky to be shot in a cow stable dressed to the hilt in a black gala dress surrounded by cows.

I always wondered how she might have felt that day while posing for Conant. What went trough her mind? Nothing can be deducted from her face which is rather icy cold looking into the lens but she surely must have hated it. Nevertheless everything for showbizz so... Luckily for Marisa Mell this article was some kind of opening for her to Hollywood, which she later rejected, and from all the competing actresses in the spread she was first in the picking order and got two pictures in the article with the most accompanying text. Probably the editor also thought that this picture was way over the top and wanted to make a gesture to the actress for enduring this shit.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Everybody Has Something To Hide" (Mata Hari)

In December of 1967, Marisa Mell starred in the musical Mata Hari. The try-out in Washington D.C. was a disaster. For example, Marisa Mell as Mata Hari was executed at the end of the play and "died" but before closing curtains she rised again making the audience laugh out loud! And there were other goofs so that the producer David Merrick decided to cancel the whole production even before it went to Broadway, NY, leaving behind a devistated Marisa Mell. In hinsight she never got over this faillure in her career. To my knowledge there are no film tapes available of this production but only bootleg audio tapes. Here is an example of Marisa Mell as Mata Hari singing the song "Everybody Has Something To Hide" referring to her spy activities during World War I in Europe. You will notice that Marisa Mell is not really singing but more or less talking her lyrics with a melodious voice. She could definitely not sing! Note: because this is a bootleg audiotape of the try-out with audience the quality is not that good but it is at the moment the only 43 year old recording of that production.





Sunday, October 3, 2010

Summer of '64

Summer 2010 is finally over on the Northern hemisphere and autumn is upon us but Marisa Mell is still enjoying the summer of '64 on a Mediterranean beach relaxing after a busy movie year and preparing for her next shoot in the fall as this staged photo shows!
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Trivia: this is one of very few close-up pictures where you can see clearly the teeth of Marisa Mell. In most of her close-up pictures her mouth is closed.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tony Curtis dies at age 85!

On September 29th 2010, one of Hollywood's last living legends Tony Curtis died at his Las Vegas home from a cardiac arrest at age 85. Tony Curtis shaped himself from a 1950s movie heartthrob into a respected actor, showing a determined streak that served him well in such films as "Sweet Smell of Success," "The Defiant Ones" and the mega hit "Some Like It Hot" with Marilyn Monroe. Curtis began in acting with frivolous movies that exploited his handsome physique and appealing personality, but then steadily moved to more substantial roles, starting in 1957 in the harrowing show business tale "Sweet Smell of Success." In 1958, "The Defiant Ones" brought him an Academy Award nomination as best actor for his portrayal of a white racist who escaped from prison handcuffed to a black man, Sidney Poitier. The following year, he donned women's clothing and sparred with Marilyn Monroe in one of the most acclaimed film comedies ever, Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot." His first wife was actress Janet Leigh of "Psycho" fame; actress Jamie Lee Curtis is their daughter. "My father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages," Jamie Lee Curtis said in a statement today. "He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him and a wife and in-laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world." Curtis struggled against drug and alcohol abuse as starring roles became fewer, but then bounced back in film and television as a character actor. His brash optimism returned, and he allowed his once-shiny black hair to turn silver. Again he came back after even those opportunities began to wane, reinventing himself as a writer and painter whose canvasses sold for as much as $20,000. "I'm not ready to settle down like an elderly Jewish gentleman, sitting on a bench and leaning on a cane," he said at 60. "I've got a helluva lot of living to do." And that he did. (A.P.)
For fans of Marisa Mell, he will be mainly remembered as the "other" Casanova in the movie "Casanova & C°" from 1977 with a bunch of Eurocult actresses like Marisa Berenson, Sylva Koscina, Andrea Ferreol, Britt Ekland and... Marisa Mell as the Dutchess of Cornaro. The movie is an erotic comedy film with many... many titles: Casanova & Company (Italy), Casanova - sänkykamarivaras (Finland), Enas trellos, poly trellos Kazanovas (Greece), Hilfe, ich bin eine männliche Jungfrau (West Germany), Sex on the Run (USA) (reissue title), Some Like It Cool (USA), The Amorous Mis-Adventures of Casanova (USA) (video title), The Rise and Rise of Casanova (UK), and Treize femmes pour Casanova (France)). The plot revolves around the adventures of Giacomo Casanova with various women, and a visit to the Republic of Venice by an Ottoman delegation, including a Sultana and her retinue. To me he will always be remembered as the partner of Roger Moore in the British series "The Persuaders" from the early 70's.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Equus

On March 28 1964, the "Strudel"-western "Der Letzte Ritt nach Santa Cruz" had it's German premiere. The movie was a German take on making an "American" western in Europe. The outside scenes were shot on Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands in Spain, substituting for Mexico. The movie, directed by actor-writer-director Rolf Olsen, had as main cast Edmund Purdom, Klaus Kinski, Mario Adorf, Marianne Koch (who would become in the same year world famous alongside Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's opus "A Fistful of Dollars"), and Marisa Mell as Juanita. The story is a standard revenge story, so nothing special, but what makes this movie remarkable in her career is the fact that Marisa Mell rides a horse in several scenes, what she has never done again in any of her future movies.Not many people know that Marisa Mell was, not only classical theatre trained in Vienna's prestitious Max Reinhardt Seminar, but was also a quite good horse rider. So privately she often went horse riding whenever she got the opportunity, especially in the 60's.This is a rare picture of Marisa Mell horse riding during the production of the French movie "Objectif 500 millions" published in a Spanish newspaper on March 23rd 1966, a few days before the French premiere of the movie.

As told the movie was shot on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. So whenever Marisa Mell had some free time during the production of the movie, she went horse riding alongside the shores of the island. During one of those rides she encountered a car driving along the sea road. The horse startled by the roar of the engine. Marisa Mell was not able to keep the horse under control and she was thrown to the ground. A young man left the car and hurried to help her get up again when he noticed that she was bleeding out of her nose very badly. So the best thing he could do was take her to the nearby hospital on the island to check on her situation. Thankfully nothing was broken so Marisa Mell could leave the hospital the same day. After the ordeal Marisa Mell and the young man kept in touch and became even friends. One year later, Marisa Mell had the now famous auto accident and was hospitalised for several months. The young man heard of this ordeal and went to visit her with a large bouquet of flowers telling her that he would take care of her whatever the cost. According to the information at hand during her recovery they became lovers for a short while.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Whose orchid is it anyway???

Today I went shopping in my home town because the weather was very nice and I needed some new stuff for the autumn and winter that is coming upon us very soon. Driving into town with my car during a saturday afternoon is not a very good idea but I had to do at the same time some errants so I needed the trunk of my car. The road into the city center is normaly a 10 minutes drive but today it took me more that 45 minutes to reach my destination. It was a lot of stop and go and bumper to bumper. What do you do while waiting in line to enter a city? Listen to the radio, text some messages to friends, thinking about meaningless things, looking at the many tourists that are still in big numbers in town hurrying along the boardwalks like grasshoppers in a corn field... Then I needed to stop the car again at a traffic light that was close to my end target. Finally. This traffic light is situated near a very big perfume store from a very well known chain of perfume stores. While looking at the big displays in the windows I saw a lot of advertising for perfumes from all the major brands like YSL, Boss, Gucci... and also the photo above with a beautiful lady in perfect make-up. She had grand eyes, very lush red lips and her right eye was decorated with a blood red orchid. "What an original concept", I thought to tell a message! I had never seen that ad before. The traffic light went to green and I entered city center. The strange thing was that during an entire day of shopping the picture above kept popping up in my mind. Who was that women and what was the name of the perfume she was advertising? But there was also another thing that was bothering me but I was not able to put my finger on it! What was it about that picture that struck me and made me uneasy?
Back home I found the picture on the internet. The women was Italian actress Monica Bellucci advertising the perfume "Hypnotic Poison" and lipstick "Rouge Dior" by Dior.
And then it hit me why I was so intrigued by this picture. The image of a women's eye in a blood red orchid I had seen before although not very often but the image was struck into my subconscious as a poster for a Marisa Mell giallo movie called "Sette Orchidee Macchiate di Rosso" or in French "Le Tueur à l'Orchidee" directed by Umberto Lenzi in 1972 with Antonio Sabato and Uschi Glass.
What coincidence I thought that after more than almost 40 years the same image was used for an ad campaign to promote the newest perfume of fashion house Dior. The only thing missing in the Dior campaign was a tear of blood dropping from the eye but that was maybe to much even for Dior. A little more research learned that the man responsable for this image was make-up master for Dior for more than 30 year called "Tyen". He started his job at Dior as a make-up artist and then in later years became their fashion photographer and stylist for their ads. And as you can see on the picture below he puts more on women's faces than just orchids.
I wonder if he is a giallo fan or even an Eurocult fan? It could be possible while living in Paris, France that he came across the poster of "Le Tueur à l'Orchidee" and that the image has struck him one way or the other. So when one day the new ad campaign for the Dior perfume was needed this image of an eye surrounded by orchid petals came back to him. Who knows? Nevertheless it makes for a strong image and a beautiful campaign.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Eurocult Looney Tunes!

Marisa Mell was one of the most beautiful actresses of her time! During her reign in the Eurocult scene a lot of photo's where taken from her. This one is from March 1964 when she attended in Argentina the Buenos Aires "Festival Internacional de Cine de Mar del Plata" . Already early on Marisa Mell had a lot of success with her films in the Spanish speaking countries appealing to a lot of latino men. So Spanish language newspapers started to cover the movies she made often accompanied with a review of that movie. Because the internet and desk top publishing are still decades away the editors of the newspapers asked often cartoonists to make a little drawing of the content of the movie so to liven up the review a little bit. This week's entry shows some cartoons of that time as being published during the 60's and 70's. You will notice the cartoons are not very flattering to the beauty of Marisa Mell.

DIAMOND WALKERS (1965)
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TRAIN D'ENFER (1965)

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X

CHE NOTTE, RAGAZZI (1966)

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X

DANGER: DIABOLIK! (1968)

X X

SENZA VIA D'USCITA (1970)

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X

LES BELLES AUX BOIS DORMANTES (1970)

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X

MARTA (1971)

X X

AMICO, STAMMI LONTANO ALMENO UN PALMO (1972)

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LA ENCADENADA (1975)
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