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.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

G is for Gina and for glamour

I like SOLOMON & SHEBA a lot, this blurb "A motion picture so vast it sweeps all before it" seems a rather forlorn hope though as in 1959 BEN HUR was the only epic everyone wanted to see. 
King Vidor's biblical though remains a guilty pleasure, its vastly entertaining, what with George Sanders, Harry Andrews and Jean Anderson as Sheba's servants, and that sizzling orgy scene as Sheba seduces Solomon, while the Old Testament God shows his displeasure by sending thunder and lightening to show Solomon the error of his ways .... this of course began in 1958 with Tyrone Power but he had that fatal heart attack and the film has to be re-shot with Yul Brynner. It remains one of the better 50s epics, Vidor was still able to create great visuals, like Sheba leaving the temple and facing the mob. 
Gina now seems the epitome of '50s European glamour, before the ascent of Bardot and Loren. Here she meets Marilyn in 1955 - they were practically the same age (MM born in 1926, Gina in '27 - Gina is still here in her 80s). Is that Rock Hudson behind her?

I remember my father taking me to TRAPEZE in 1956, when I was 10 .... the next year I was allowed to go to the movies on my own and simply loved THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME where Gina was a terrific Esmerelda, with her dancing and her pet goat. More on Gina at label, particularly LA LOI in 1959, and that trash classic GO NAKED IN THE WORLD. She is deliciously funny too with Rock in COME SEPTEMBER in '61, and with Connery and Ralph Richardson in WOMAN OF STRAW in '64. By 1960 Monica Vitti and Claudia Cardinale had joined Gina and Sophia as Italy's greatest exports .... we like her with Jean Sorel in LA BAMBOLE in '65 (below) and the 1968 comedy BUONA SERA MRS CAMPBELL is very amusing too,  as was Skolimowski's KING QUEEN KNAVE from Nabokov in 1972 (bottom),  we liked it a lot, and of course Gina with Dame Edna Everage in one of the Dame's shows was too funny. A lot of Gina's European films though never made it to London ... she later became a successful photographer/photo journalist.
G is also for (now that I have seen KILLER JOE) the stunning Gina Gershon whom you may have seen in SHOWGIRLS .... wait till you catch her in KILLER JOE !


  1. I love that photo of Gina and Marilyn...they should have made a movie together, a comedy. It would have been legendary. Solomon & Sheba is fun in the grand Hollywood tradition. My only issue with the film is that Gina and Yul don't have much chemistry. The death of Tyrone probably put a morose tone during the rest of the production when they reshot with Yul.

  2. Yes Marilyn and Gina would be a dynamic double act. Sophia Loren regretted she never met MM, Gina stole a march on her there! They tried to deglamorise Lollo in a downbeat 1964 drama 'Mare Mato' (Crazy Sea) with Belmondo and Tomas Milian (it was on YouTube a while ago, maybe still is - one of her ones which never made it to London) but she still looked terrific.