Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Good to see Sophia Loren back in a new movie, even if she has nothing much to do in NINE and is badly photographed to boot! Yesterday had a repeat of the 1957 BOY ON A DOLPHIN, which I never tire of - she is wonderful here, so beautiful and animated, aged about 23. She and Clifton Webb are a joy together and its amusing seeing how they they try to make Alan Ladd taller than her - it starts with a mini-travelogue of some Greek islands (quite a novelty back then I imagine): Rhodes [where I was last summer], Delos, Mykonos, Poros, Hydra where the film is set. LEGEND OF THE LOST is more of the same, a Hathaway western set in the Sahara, and she squares up nicely to Wayne, and Jack Cardiff makes it look good. Back then, I loved her in HOUSEBOAT with Grant, she is delighful (and sings and dances) in IT STARTED IN NAPLES, even if Gable looks far too old for her, THE MILLIONAIRESS, EL CID - where she is as monumental as Heston, FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, and of course her De Sica films including TWO WOMEN (aged 26, playing the mother of a 14 year old), so funny in the Naples section of YESTERDAY TODAY & TOMORROW, MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE, perhaps at her zenith opposite Peck in the still entertaining ARABESQUE. I also like her doing the twist in Paris in 1962 with Tony Perkins in 5 MILES TO MIDNIGHT, and all the others.... THE BLACK ORCHID was a pleasure to see again recently, as was Cukor's HELLER IN PINK TIGHTS. In her early 20s she was co-starring with all these leading men who were about 30 years older than her - only Tab Hunter or Tony Perkins were about her own age!
There are now 3 new books on her: a lavish picture book, a nice career appraisal with lots of photos, and a rather academic look at her rise in the early '50s. I saw her up close in 1979 at her book signing at a very packed Selfridges store in London. She lives away from the headlines unless there is a cookery book or movie to promote, so - unlike Liz - we have not spent the last 40 years keeping up with her marriages, divorces, weight or health problems. She is still very private and rater mysterious, and is much more visible now since Carlo Ponti's death. She looks better than ever these days in her mid-70s at various events and award shows.
I must add how much I now like those earlier films: TOO BAD SHES BAD from 1954 (she must have been 19) is a blissful discovery, her first with De Sica and Mastroianni - and WOMAN OF THE RIVER, which I did see when I was 12 - her mambo dance is sensational. Mangano and Lollobrigida may have began before her, and Vitti and Cardinale followed in her wake, but Sophia was and is THE international star of the 50s/60s, plus of course Romy Schneider! My IMDb appreciation on her is at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000047/board/nest/113982198?d=113982198#113982198