Marisa Mell had just finished theatre school when she was cast in 1959 in the role of "Alka" for the West-German production "Am Galgen hängt die Liebe", a war story based on a Greek tragedy! To promote her as an up and coming actress for this black and white movie this promotional photo was made where Marisa Mell was gorgeously shot in all her beauty at the tender age of 20 years. The photo was strongly enhanced in color, even changing her emerald green eyes into aqua blue eyes for a more dramatic effect! Making this photo also special is the way Marisa Mell is sending a very clear no nonsens message to the person standing next to the lens, one might even call it an accusing stare at that person! To my knowledge, never ever again in her career she made a photo like this one with such intensity!
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
The Italian Western "Amico stammi lontano almeno un palmo" from 1972 is one of my favorite Marisa Mell movies. Not because the movie has a great story or that Marisa Mell had a leading part or that it is one of the cult westerns from that era, no, it is one of my favorite Marisa Mell films solely because it has in my opinion the most beautiful cameo Marisa Mell ever had in her movie career, with a segment that runs no longer than around 15 minutes. What makes it so captivating is that it is a movie within a movie with Marisa Mell at the height of her beauty and acting abilities together with a superb Guiliano Gemma as her counterpart. For the complete analysis of that cameo, visit A Butterfly Among Flies! on this blog! For the last entry this month honoring 25 years since the sad passing of Marisa Mell, here are some behind the scene pictures taken during the summer of 1971 in Ameria, Spain, while shooting their scenes. These are some wonderful pictures of Marisa Mell, who was enjoying herself immensely during the shoot with her co-star Gemma.
Monday, May 29, 2017
This beautiful picture from 1967 of Marisa Mell is one of the rare pictures where the photographer was able to capture her amazing notorious emerald green eyes in exquisite detail! What makes this picture even more special is the condition of the skin of Marisa Mell laced with freckels, blemishes and unevenness, which nowadays would be covered with thick layers of foundation or make-up or removed altogether with Photoshop to make a smooth even looking unnatural skin or face, making it all very artificial! Not in the 60's, the faces of actresses as nature created them were accepted as natural beauties by the public. We have come a long way since then in accepting what is seen as beautiful and personally I think it is mostly not for the better!
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017
During the filming of the movie "Les Belles au Bois Dormantes" or "Versatiles Lovers" in Barcelona, Spain, in 1969, Marisa Mell and her co-star French cult actor Robert Hossein found some time to make these publicity stills at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia!
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Today marks the 25th remembrance day of the passing of Marisa Mell on May 16th 1992, after losing her battle with throat cancer at the Wilhelminenspital, in Vienna, Austria. Her best friend actress, author and publisher Erika Pluhar wrote in her famous book “Marisa Mell – Rückblenden auf einer Freundschaft” shortly after her death the following eulogy:
My dearest friend Marlies
When we strolled through the park of Schloss Schönbrunn 35 years ago we tried to grasp the secrets of life in our conversations. Life was in front of us, and we walked full of hope into its direction.
Now I have to say goodbye to you…and that hurts immensely.
You have fulfilled your life on Earth! It was full of glamour and hardship. It has gifted you with beauty, wisdom and talent… but it has also gifted you in the end with nothing.
What does give your early departure a glow, and what will stay with your friends forever, whom are now left behind, in the years to come, is another kind of beauty, which death could not wrangle from you, and that is your last wild coarsely laughter, which I will never forget.
We, your friends, your family of the “other art”, will never forget you.
We love you!
I will say only two words, which you always said when saying goodbye to your friends, and which you loved to say:
Tonight I will watch as a remembrance of this date one of my favorite Marisa Mell movies “French Dressing” to see her on the screen in all her beauty, wisdom and talent but foremost to hear her wild coarsely laughter as a reminder that one’s life has to be cherished each and every day so that at the end of it, while crossing the Styx, you can look back at fond memories with a more than satisfied feeling that your life was worth living.
Monday, May 1, 2017
Marisa Mell was always aware of her beauty and body, and like most of the actresses open to new fashion and diet trends in the world to keep this beauty and body in pristine condition. At the end of the 60's, a doctor from India was in Rome the new it-man, who made some waves with a new diet composed of eating flowers, especially the colourful carnations! So Marisa Mell had to try this at home in her beautiful apartment near the Forum Romanum. By the looks of it, it was not really her cup of tea, being a down to earth women from Austria, especially the hard boiled region of the Steiermark. In later years, after a long time living in Rome, that attitude would change when she became open to everything new age and spirituality like card reading, palm reading, pendels, guru's...
Thursday, April 6, 2017
After leaving her native country Austria in the mid 60's, Marisa Mell was not sure where her movie home would be for the foreseeable future: would it be Germany, France, England, Spain or Italy? As a starlet still finding her way in the movie business, she had not much to say about accepting a role or not. She was just glad that a major part was offered to her, that it brought in the much needed money to pay the expenses of building a movie career, had a decent director and movie partner, who was not yet at the end of his career, with an acceptable story as a bonus, but that was not a necessity. So it wasn't strange that in the early years of her career, she worked in all the before mentioned countries as an aspiring actress, with even a short stop in South-Africa. Her first movie in France in 1965 was called "Train d'enfer", an agent movie with adventurous elements, directed by Gilles Grangier, most famous as a director at that time for working with Jean Gabin, the ultimate French character actor, regarded by his public as God on Earth. Her partner for this movie was also French actor Jean Marais, who was still en vogue after a stellar career in the 50's, as the hero in many pirate and musketeer movies, but who was also starting to feel his age at 52. He would make in that same period one last impression on his audience as Fantomas in the movie trilogy of the same name with the ultimate French comedian actor Louis de Funès.
The movie "Train d'Enfer" had its première on November 10th 1965 at cinema "Le Berlitz" in Paris, France, situated at 33, Boulevard des Italiens. Le Berlitz was regarded as an important first showing cinema with only "A"-graded movies shown in first run. Almost all famous French movies from that era got their première at Le Berlitz, like movies with sex kitten Brigitte Bardot in "La Femme et le Pantin" in 1959 or Louis de Funès in "La Grande Vadrouille" in 1966.
Every movie producer can tell you that the venue where your movie is shown on its opening night is a major part of getting the necessary box office or not. So opening in Le Berlitz in Paris was a major coup for Marisa Mell as the next step in her movie career that had all the elements of making it big first in Europe and then probably Hollywood. Looking at the numbers from the box office, the movie was not a major runaway success but did quite well when going to the movies was one of the most, if not the most popular spare time activities: 1.346.579 visitors in the whole of France, 92.304 visitors for cinema's with an exclusive screening, 228.099 visitors during the non exclusive screenings and 39.672 visitors in the first week in Paris
Le Berlitz was build on a historical site in Paris. The original site was a garden belonging to the Duke de Richelieu where, between 1758-1760, the Pavilion de Hanovre was build, along the Rue Neuve Saint-Augustin, which later became the Boulevard des Italiens.
But progress could not be stopped in Paris in 1932, so the venue had to make place for a more commercial building then keeping a historical one, because of its historic value, the French government decided to tear down the building stone by stone, and rebuild it again in the Parc de Sceaux, but only to the first floor, the second floor was deleted.
With the historical building removed, there was enough room to build a commercial office building with shops on the ground floor and a cinema with 200 seats for news reels. The building got the name "Palais Berlitz", after the language school located in the offices above the cinema. In the early 50's, the ground floor and underground were rebuild as a cinema with 1500 seats and a restaurant. It became one of the most important first run movie theaters in Paris. The design featured a huge curved lobby with stained glass windows leading to the big auditorium which had club armchairs. Due to two large columns in the auditorium space, the size of the screen was limited.
In the 1980's Gaumont took over the building and devided Le Berlitz, including the restaurant, into six small screens. Sadly the place lost its original design and was not very attractive, so the building was again completely rebuild in the 1990's with only the facade remaining. The design is much nicer now with six cinema's with at total seating capacity of 1137 seats.
And so once again a bright landmark of Paris Nightlife disappeared forever. What a marvelous and magical time it must have been to walk through the streets of Paris at night in the Boulevard des Italiens, seeing from far already the brightly lit marquis of the cinema announcing the next-must-see movie "Train d'enfer" with enormous cut out boards of Marisa Mell and Jean Marais, against a back ground of painted action scenes of the movie and their names in bright red.