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Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Man Who Loved Sirens!

During the course of the past two years this blog has highlighted several times the career of one of Italy's and probably the world's best movie star and fashion photographer: Angelo Frontoni. During almost 50 years, from the 1950's untill his untimely death in 2002, Angelo Frontoni was "the glamour photographer" for magazine's like Vogue, Harper's Bazar, Photo, Paris Match, Stern, Playboy... and many, many more. Angelo Frontoni with Sophia Loren
This amazing photographer with an unsurpassed eye for the use of light, color and composition entered the professional field around 1957 when one of his best friends starlet Gina Lollobrigida asked him to photograph her on and off set during the filming of her latest movie "La donna più bella del mondo". That was all the start of his career needed. He never looked back. In the course of several years his stardom rose never to be faded. After his death in 2002 Angelo Frontoni left an archive of more than 500.000 photo's being one of the most important historic archives in the world of movie and fashion history. Because of the importance of this archive, it's curatorship was devided between two important Italian movie organisations: "Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia" and "Museo Nationale del Cinema". This guaranteed that his legacy would never get lost, was archived in the most professional way and would become object of study for many future generations of movie students, photographers, fashion addicts...
To honor this great photographer, both organisations created in 2007 a traveling exhibition called "Angelo Frontoni: Mediterraneo - Bellezze Al Bagno" under the curatorship of Sergio Toffetti. During this exhibition, 30 photo's were shown taken by Frontoni between 1960-1970 of the then most famous female stars and starlets in Italian cinema while they were relaxing during the hot summer months on one of Italy's many beaches like Fregene, Ostia, Fiumicino, Sabaudia or Sperlonga. They show the actresses in completely different settings than the classic movie sets or photo studios, not staged or arranged by public relation agencies during a time when beauty was still natural without plastic surgery or any other gimmick. (Virna Lisi, co-star with Marisa Mell in two movies: "Casanova '70" in 1965 and "Le Dolci Signore" in 1968) (Elsa Martinelli, co-star with Marisa Mell in "Una Sull'Altra" in 1969.)
(Edwige Fenech, giallo and Italian sexy comedy still reigning Eurocult-queen. Strangely Marisa Mell never made a movie with her!)
(Anna Maria Ferrero, forgotten Italian cult actress with more than 50 movies to her credit from 1950 untill 1964. She left the movie business after marrying another Eurocult star Jean Sorel, co-star with Marisa Mell in "Una Sull'Altra" in 1969. They are still married!)(German star Elke Sommer, during the filming of one of her most sexy movies "Deadlier Than Male" in 1968. She will turn 70 this year on November 5th.)(Annette Froyberg, later Annette Vadim, after marrying French director Roger Vadim. Annette Vadim was Ken Russell's first choice for the role of Françoise Fayol in his 1964 movie "French Dressing". She fell ill during pre-production and was replaced by Marisa Mell.)(Anna Maria Pierangeli, better known as "Pier Angeli", was one of the 50's and 60's cult actresses in Europa and America. She was once engaged to James Dean, Kirk Douglas but ultimately married superstar singer Vic Damone. Unfortenately, their married life ended in a War of the Roses-type of divorce leaving her devastated. Once in Europe, she tried to revive her career but it was not to be so she killed herself at the age of 37 in her home in Beverly Hills, Hollywood on September 10th 1971.) (Alessandra Panaro played during the 50's and 60's mostly in peplum and western movies. She left the business around 1965, although appeared again last year to do an episode on a long running Brazilian sitcom at the age of 70.)

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