I am from Brasil and live in Rio de Janeiro. Since I was a 5 year old kid, I wanted to work on films. Not in front of the cameras, but behind them. So I became a director and screenwriter mostly working on Brazilian TV. Due to my fascination with film I became also a historian of Brazilian and world film history, giving classes on those subjects too. Cinema is and will always be my life. Finally I also became a writer. In 2007 I published biography of the Italian-Brazilian actor Anthony Steffen. Now I'm considering to publish it in English. For your interest Anthony Steffen didn't have much to say about Marisa Mell, only that she was very professional, sort of distant and girlfriend of one of the film producers, the polemic Pier Luigi Torri.
My job as a director and screenwriter is based on references of all that I see and feel around me. The first Marisa Mell movie I've seen was “Danger: Diabolik!”. I was enchanted with Mario Bava’s mis-en-scène. An accomplished director must have a good cast to work with and the magical way Marisa Mell is shown in “Danger: Diabolik!” stuck forever in my mind. Then I wanted to see all her movies. Italian popular cinema from the 60's to 80's is also a predilection, any Marisa Mell film I grabed was a delight, no matter how good or bad it was. At that time you had really to work hard to find her films on VHS and I own a lot of those damned and delicious Greek tapes.
Personally I look at Marisa Mell from several points of views. As an admirer, as someone hornly in love with a woman who has several ups and downs, as a film craftsman who would have loved to have worked with her and, above all, someone curious about her character and personality in an era with excesses, boldness and experimentalism.
The images I got from her are usually adapted to my work. Every script I write there's a character named Marisa. If I ever have a daughter, I hope the mother will agree her name will be “Marisa”, I always liked the name “Marisa”... Every girlfriend I had, I took home to see “Danger: Diabolik!”. Our realtonship would depend on her opinions about it. Gladly, they all liked it.
Well, I'm exageratting a little bit. I do have some other actresses I like such as Sylva Koscina, Karin Schubert, Anita Strindberg, Marilu Tolo, Agosina Belli, and a lot more. But Marisa Mell has something special that fascinates me. Too bad she made some not so good options in her life, but don't we all do? She and all the actresses I mentioned are from a bygone era. Audiences and audiovisual storytelling have changed, call it progress, decadence, whatsoever. What I see in Marisa Mell’s acting and life serves me very well to give instructions to an actress or actor, cinematographer, screenwriter, producer, everyone involved in the moviemaking process. And the cinema just loves Marisa Mell. She knows how to dialogue with it, to behave and convey emotions. You do believe in her, be it in “Mahogany”, “Quest of the Mighty Sword” or “Objectif: 500 million”.
I don't have a favorite movie of Marisa Mell. “Danger: Diabolik!), “Una Sul Altra” (where she had a great director, she was just perfect), in “La Encadenada” she is great, so is she in “Lebensborn”, “Historia de una Traicion” is another one I love, and, of course, “La Belva Col Mitra”. Do I have to choose just one? Well, just like all top film lists changes according to your mood, I will stay with “La Belva Col Mitra” tonight. It's a film I can watch anytime and I'm always pleased. The action is good and crude, very Peckinpah, and Mell and Berger’s chemistry is awesome. It's a good thriller that would never be made today, Berger is just like Stroheim, the man you love to hate.
Well, that's Marisa Mell for me. If life was a Angelo Frontoni photo, I wouldn't have any doubt who would be in it.
All the best from Brazil!
Thank you for your great letter telling us your fascination with Marisa Mell. I love the Brazilian Marisa Mell movie posters which I had never seen before. The poster for "Les Libertines" is really great. Marisa Mell was truely a star in your home country because she is very prominent on every poster luring people into the movie with her beauty. Oh boy, your girl friends were in for a real surprise having to see "Danger: Diabolik!" before being able to date you! ROFL! Luckily they all liked it or maybe they had no choice then to like it to be able to be with you! Nevertheless it is a great why to get to know someone! Mmmmm, maybe I should start doing that from now on for my own dates! Your favorite Marisa Mell movie at the moment is not a choice that you hear very often! Mostly it is the classics like "Danger: Diabolik!" or " Una Sul Altra" but seldom "La Belva Col Mitra" due to the violence especially the rape of the Marisa Mell character, which made the movie very notorious!