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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Train d' Enfer!

When you are writing a weekly blog like the Marisa Mell Blog you are starting after a certain amount of time to breath and live the blog in your daily life always on the look out for something that you can use as an entry. Your eye and mind is becoming so trained in the end that even watching a movie that totally has nothing to do with the life and work of Marisa Mell in this case the excellent action thriller "The Bourne Identity" with Matt Damon as Jason Bourne and Franka Potente as "Marie Kreuz" gives you an opportunity to connect this movie to Marisa Mell's life and work.While I was watching this movie a few nights ago I saw Franka Potente wearing a sweater just before a deadly action scene with a title on her chest "Train d'Enfer". In the story she becomes the lover of Matt Damon, a CIA-assassin who has lost his memory and is trying to gain his mental abilities in the course of several hard hitting action scenes. Against her will Franka Potente's life is going down to hell at a breath taking speed with no stopping the chaos around her hence the reference to the French saying "Train d'Enfer". So when reading the title on her sweater my mind automatically made a connection to another movie with the same title in case the 1965 French spy-thriller also called "Train d'Enfer" with Marisa Mell and Jean Marais in the lead roles also having a chain of events taking their lives into a roller coaster ride.
Maybe I should do something different with my own life? Sigh!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wanted: Dead or Alive!

Although this blog is solely dedicated to the life and work of Marisa Mell and people associated with her life and work this time this entry is dedicated to a movie genre that this very dear to my heart: the Spaghetti Western. Sadly the gerne is at the moment almost non existent in present day cinema's so I was glad to hear that some producers are willing to take a risk in producing a genuine Spaghetti Western with cult star Brett Halsey a.k.a. Montgomery Ford as the hero in this movie called The Scarlet Worm. The story: An aging killer trains a young hired gun in a plot to assassinate a meek brothel owner performing barbaric abortion acts on his prostitutes. This Western features an authentic, brutal script from historian/screenwriter David Lambert and will be the seventh feature film from Triple D and Wild Dogs Productions. The producers have called upon experts in the genre to ensure this project maintains its Spaghetti Western roots and sensibilities. Cult actor Brett Halsey is, as said, attached as a world-weary, retired shootist slowly becoming absorbed in his partner’s murderous rampage, and Euro staple Dan van Husen (Cut-throats 9) will play a diabolical cathouse manager eager to purify his pregnant whores. Production is set to start June 26 2010.
The producers are very close to making this vision a reality, but they need your help by targetting the final amount of 2.500 USD. Pledges will go towards various props and sets, as well as housing, feeding and transporting the cast and crew involved, and possibly attaining additional name talent. You can find more information about doing a donation:


http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/966139435/feature-length-western-the-scarlet-worm

UPDATE: On Sunday June 6th 2010, this project reached its target by grossing 2.735 USD. So mission accomplished. Looking forward to the finished product!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Actress Formerly Known As "Marisa Mell"!

Marisa Mell was born under her civil name Marlies Moitzi as an Austrian citizen. At the beginning of her career, she quickly understood that this civil name was not a name for a famous actress that she dreamed of becoming. So like almost all actors and actresses she decided to change her name to her alter ego Marisa Mell. But having a new name is not a guarantee that everybody in showbizz knows your name or knows how to write your name. Marisa Mell made one movie in England called "French Dressing". Although not a success at that time, the British movie and glamour magazines still followed her career from a distance. So in 1968 Marisa Mell appeared in a glamour magazine called "Girl Illustrated" with the above photo and a little accompanying article about her. The article starts by giving "Marisa Mell" a new name as "Melissa Mell". Then the writer gives us some revelations by telling us that we have here "...an instance which discounts the cynical view that beauty and brains make strange bedfellow. Melissa is a very successful actress which means that she is highly talented." and "...she is at present in Rome starring in "Luigi Zampa" and "...She is no stranger to British screens". Well, you have to admit that the writer did a hell of a job to write in only 5 sentences such a bullshit. This photo is a publicity still from her French 1966 movie "Objectif 500 millions" which had to have an accompanying publicity text with synopsis of the movie and credits of the people involved in creating this movie. How is it possible to change the name "Marisa Mell" into "Melissa Mell" with the correct information at hand? Maybe the writer was in need of new glasses and wrote the article while waiting before entering the pratice of an optician. Then we get another assumption that defies all logic. So now we know that to become a successfull actress you have to be highly talented. So all succesful actresses are talented? Sigh! Then we come to the next shocker! A new Marisa Mell movie that I have never heard of called "Luigi Zampa"! What??? The movie is actually called "Le Dolci Signore" and was directed by Luigi Zampa! And finally Marisa Mell is no stranger to British screens. That was an enormous exageration. I doubt it very much that the British cinema goer would have known when asked who Marisa Mell was or which movies she had played in. She was not a household name in England like Brigitte Bardot, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Elke Sommer... or other famous European actresses.

Here is another original way to re-name "Marisa Mell" into "Mariza Mel" on a poster from a foreign magazine with a classic picture by photographer Angelo Frontoni. And then we have the ultimate name mistake for Marisa Mell by a man who should have known much better.
In 1997 Quentin Tarantino's third movie "Jackie Brown" premiered. Quentin Tarantino was the hot cookie in Hollywood after his recent successes with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Stuffing his movies with subtle and not so subtle references to Eurocult movies, actors and actresses it came to no surprize to me that during the course of the storyline some of characters are watching a movie in the living room on a TV screen called "La Belva col Mitra" with Marisa Mell and Helmut Berger. The movie is famous for the violent behaviour of Helmut Berger in the course of the story and the rape of Marisa Mell by Berger.
When I saw this movie for the first time I wondered if and if so how and where Marisa Mell would be credited for her appearence. Great was my astonishment when I saw the end credits of the movie. In a long list of thank you's I read the name of Marisa Mell written as "Marisa Mel" with one "L" instead of two "LL". What??? Here you have a director who makes movies mostly as pastiches of other peoples work, storylines, creativity... and always credits himself upon his knowledge on everything Eurocult finding probabely "La Belva col Mitra" one of the better Italian eurocrime movies unable to write correctly the name of the female star of the cult movie he incorporated in his own movie. I know that Quentin Tarantino is not responsable for writting the end credits of his movies but some little gnom in a back office of a production company did it but nevertheless... it is his movie from beginning to the end. There does not end my story. Thanks to this little mistake so many years ago there are still a few concequences to be payed. By dropping one "L" in the name Marisa Mell to Marisa Mel, the people responsable for the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) updates created a new actress file for the actress "Marisa Mel" with only one movie credit to her name i.c. Jackie Brown! A short career indeed for this women.
Another concesquence is that the same people updating the IMDB categorically refuse to update the filmography for Marisa Mell with another movie credit for the movie "Jackie Brown" solely on the fact that her name was written with one "L" and not two "LL".
So to them the career of Marisa Mell ended with the movie "I Love Vienna" from 1991 and not the 1997 starrer "Jackie Brown" which would be correct. IMDB lists as credit almost every creative aspect of movie making from director to producer to caterer and goofer. So why not updating Marisa Mell's filmography with this movie?
Marisa Mell or Melissa Mell or Mariza Mel or Marisa Mel or... whatever her name is in the movie "La Belva col Mitra"!
Thanks to Paula Titterton for giving me the idea for this entry and contributing the photo and article from the magazine "Girl Illustrated".

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

La Encadenada-The Poster War

Spanish Movie Poster
In late 1973 Marisa Mell made a Spanish-Italian movie called "La Encadenada" directed by Manuel Mur Oti, playing the role of Gina/Elisabeth, a women trying to steal a family fortune by posing as a nurse/companion for the sick son of the family while at the same time seducing the father and son to achieve her goal. Although at the time of its release trashed as pure pulp the movie has since gained a lot of cult following for the great performance of Marisa Mell, her on screen presence and beauty. Next to French Dressing and Objective: 500 million this is number 3 on my list of all time favorite Marisa Mell movies. What also makes this movie interesting is the way the producers try to sell this movie in the respective countries Spain and Italy by way of the use of the movie posters. As one can see above the Spanish version of the movie poster is quite typical for the beginning of the 1970's by using a (horrible) drawing in pastel watercolours hightlighted by bright pink and vived green. The rendition of Marisa Mell is one of the worst that I have ever seen on a poster. The poster emphasises the family drama and the connection between Marisa Mell and the other two actors playing father and son. By looking at the poster as viewer you can not deduct much what the story is about! The only thing sure is that an older man is quite dominant towards a women who is crouching and looking in fear at the man and a younger man probably his son but for the rest... The Spanish title of the movie "La Encadenada" or "The one in chains" does not help much either.
Italian Locadino
The Italian poster tells a complete other story on the other hand. Although you still are not able to tell much about the content of the movie it gives you quite some information about what kind of movie to suspect. The movie is drawn in the classic giallo style of so many other movies posters fashionable at that time. The producers are clearly pulling the card of the giallo. The placement of Marisa Mell and her face looking astonished, extremely beautiful drawn by Renato Casaro, creates a tension highlighted by the black and white swirl to the couple making love in the back ground. The title concludes the giallo feel by calling the movie "Perversione" or in English "Perversion" making it sound very familiar like other giallo titles like "Torso" or "Spasmo". Although making reference to a giallo in my opinion I do not find this movie at all a giallo when looking at the characteristics of a giallo like the razer-blade wielding dressed in black killer or the killer often being a priest or a psychotic man/women abused in his/her childhood which are absent in this movie. Nevertheless it makes one of the most beautiful movie posters of a Marisa Mell movie that I have ever seen and ranks on the number 1 spot on my list of Marisa Mell movie posters.
Thanks to André Schneider for the production information!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Falling Stars!

Regular readers of the Marisa Mell Blog know mostly that her life was like a rollercoaster: coming from rather humble origins in Austria, gradually growing into an Eurocult movie superstar, living the life of a diva in sunny Rome (Italy), trying to survive the downfall of her movie career, living a harsh life of poverty in Austria again and finally succumbing to throat cancer. When looking at the lifes of other Eurocult actresses from that era, there is one life of an other actress that has some remarkable similarities to the life of Marisa Mell. Her name: Silvia Kristel. Dutch born actress Silvia Kristel is best known and will always be known as the sexy heroine of the original Emmanuelle-trilogy (1974-1977). There was another Emmanuelle movie made in 1969 called "Io, Emmanuelle" based indirectly on the novel by the same title written by the French ambassador's wife to Thailand Emmanuelle Arsan and starring another Eurocult main stay Erica Blanc but hardcore fans of the Emmanuelle-trilogy regard Silvia Kristel as the one and only actress incarnating the title role and the first three movies of the series as the official canon for the life of Emmanuelle, disregarding all other movies, name changes, storylines and actresses playing the part since. Once her on-screen reputation was made as seductive sexy Emmanuelle, Silvia Kristel had a very hard time casting off this image to gather new movie roles. Partly she did succeed in getting other more serious parts working with directors like Roger Vadim, Walerian Borowczyk, Francis Girod or working with actors like Gérard Depardieu, Michel Piccoli, Alain Delon but in the end her past crept up on her and she starred again in several sexy movies like Lady Chatterly's Lover with Nicolas Clay directed by Emmanuelle director Just Jaeckin or the highly successful movie "Private lessons". When her career started to dwindle due to excessive abuse of alcohol, smoking and drugs like cocaine instigated by her lover for several years Ian McShane whom she met during the production of the movie the Fifth Musketeer in Hollywood or financial bankrupt and again excessive life style with the before mentioned substances which she endured all out of love to a man called Philip Blot while financing and starring in his movie "The Arrogant" she had to make a decision. Like Marisa Mell left Rome (Italy) to live again in her old home town Vienna (Austria) out of financial necessity Silvia Kristel left Hollywood to live again in her old home town Amsterdam (Holland). Both ladies decided that to earn new income one of the venues to do so outside the movie bussiness was trying to become an creative artist in drawing and painting.

And drawing and painting they did. Nothing is know about the source of inspiration for Marisa Mell to start doing this. For Silvia Kristel her greatest inspiration in this field was the French writer, painter, illustrator and director Roland Topor. He taught her the basic rules of creating art.
Marisa Mell - Selfportrait

Silvia Kristel - Selfportrait

As written in another entry for this blog, Marisa Mell was not very successful in her new endeavor, got some minor local exhibitions in Austria and then left in silence this field. Silvia Kristel on the other hand had and still has some kind of success with her art that is still being made by her and sold in several galeries in the Netherlands at a moderate price. I was lucky to meet her in person and be at one of her openings at the beginning of her new artistic career. She was a very moderate and shy person nothing at all like her movie heroine or her reputation. Just a women who tries to make a good living after her ordeal with another life style that she was not accostumed to. Having lived such a extravagant life with chauffeurs, maids, big houses... the next possible step in earning money as a fading away movie actress is to write one's autobiography.
Both ladies tried to write down their lives as seen through their eyes in a rather "Tell All" story. Again the difference in outcome could not have been greater between to two actresses. Marisa Mell tried to write an autobiography mostly based on her successes in the movies and theater, her past en present lovers by naming all the handsome and (very) rich man popular during her height in the movie business in the 70's and her glamorous life in Italy while Silvia Kristel tried to write a real honest account of her life as a "Memoir". She even did mention, although very brief, being abused as a child by a hotel guest which stayed at the hotel run by her family. The autobiography of Marisa Mell did not do much and disappreared in oblivion, Silvia Kristel's book was quite a success in Europe having translations from French into Dutch, German and English among others and is still in print.
But that was not enough to earn some decent income to keep up a good life. While Marisa Mell did not find true love during the harsh times of her life, Silvia Kristel did meet a nice man that truely loved her for who she was and not the "Emmanuelle" figure that so many men believed that she was. She left Amsterdam together with her lover and lived almost ten years in Brussels (Belgium) a very modest and simple life in a small apartment near the old city center. She went just like everybody else to the backery and grossery store to do her shoppings, standing in line to place an order, as often witnessed. A life so far away from Hollywood where everything is done for you and seeing movie stars only in restaurants like the Ivy or driving by in a limo. But tragic struck twice again for Silvia Kristel when her lover after a longer period of time being ill died from cancer. She was alone again. And then, as if regaining strenght after the death of a beloved one was not enough, just like Marisa Mell in her fifties, Silvia Kristel was diagnosed with throat cancer. Silvia Kristel decided to move back from Brussels to Amsterdam to be close to her family, especially her son Arthur and sister Marianne, while fighting this terrible disease. After her glamorous life in Italy Marisa Mell was not that lucky to have family around her to help her fight the cancer, she could only rely on her friend from theater school Erika Pluhar. In the end, it was not enough to help her and Marisa Mell died after a short but very painfull illness of the throat cancer. Silvia Kristel was luckier that she could beat the cancer. At the moment after 5 long and tension filled years she is cured from this terrible disease and is still living in Amsterdam. Her income is not that high, mostly coming from social wellfare, her art, some projects now and then and some very wealthy friends who support her with an allowance. But she is happy that she survived it all and still is alive to be with her son and her sister's family.
Silvia Kristel has a wonderful smokey voice! She sang the title song of Emmanuelle II. In this clip she sings the song "Changes".

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Thanks to André Schneider for supplying the picture of Marisa Mell from the movie "Una Sull'Altra".

UPDATE

On October 17th 2012 sadly Sylvia Kristel lost the battle with cancer, after having being diagnosed the past year with a relapse of her health! This is a clip from the press release of her death:

Emmanuelle star Sylvia Kristel dies at 60

Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel who starred in the iconic 1974 erotic French film Emmanuelle and more than 50 other movies died in her sleep overnight after suffering from cancer, her agent said.

“She died during the night during her sleep,'' Marieke Verharen of Features Creative Management told AFP of the 60 year-old actress who had been admitted to an Amsterdam hospital in July following a stroke.
   

Monday, May 10, 2010

The end of "Diabolik: The Movie" or...

Mario Gomboli, managing director of Diabolik's house of publication "Astorina", has announced during the month of april 2010 at the Diaboliteknico, that at the moment there is an agreement between Astorina, Mediaset and Canal Plus to bring the anti-hero to the little screen as a 6 part mini-series during the 2011 or 2012 television season. During the past years there have been several attempts to bring the dark fumetti Diabolik to the big or little screen as live action but untill now nothing much has happened. The latest news last year was that actress and model Carolina Crescentini had signed a contract to play Lady Eva Kant, partner of Diabolik in a movie version of the comic book. A possible director for the movie was french director Luc Besson but according to Mario Gomboli the director was let go of the production because of creative differences between the producers, the publishing house and the director on how to bring the anti-hero and his mate to the silver screen. It is known that Astorina is very protective of its property and its incarnations in the media. If the proposed media outlet is not in accordance with the publishing house rules and testament of the creators of Diabolik the sister Giussani than the deal is a no go, even if it involves a lot of money to be earned by the moral successors of the dark hero. At the moment nothing is known if the production of a movie is still the case or not or what the status is of Carolina Crescentini in playing the former Marisa Mell role.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Troll 3 - The Cinema Snob Review

In 1990, Marisa Mell cameod in her penultimate movie called, euhhhh, yes what is it actually called: "Quest for the Mighty Sword" or "Troll 3" or "Ator III: The Hobgoblin" or "The Hobgoblin",... well choose whatever you like, it doesn't really matter. The film was directed (!) by trash director Joe D'Amato, famous for the Black Emanuelle movies with wife Laura Gemser and other eurotrash like Porno Holocaust, Orgasmo Nero,... well you get the drift! Marisa Mell tried to play the witch of the swamp called "Nephele" giving direction to the hero into the next parts of his storyline because the plot is so badly written that even he does not know which direction to take to reach the end of the movie (!) after 90 minutes.
The Cinema Snob found time to review this movie! Let's hear what he has to say about this beauty of movie history (Sorry about the commercials at the beginning and during the review!):

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Slave of Love" re-edit mix by Space=Kudo

"Slave of Love" re-edit mix by Space=Kudo

Almost 20 years after her death, Marisa Mell is still on the minds of a lot of Eurocult fans like from the now established once cult director Quentin Tarantino with his movie "Jackie Brown", showing a clip in this movie from "Belva Col Mitra" to the up and coming multi-talented actor-director André Schneider with his movie "Der Mann im Keller" using parts of the movie "French Dressing" in the opening credits of this movie.
Not many people know that Marisa Mell also had a very short music career (!) when her movie career was slowly coming to an end. More info about this rather strange part of her life can be found here: http://marisa-mell.blogspot.com/2008/08/lady-o-and-slave-of-love-marisa-mell-on.html
She only made one single called "Slave of Love" in reference to her femme fatale reputation in the yellow press and as you also can see on the picture above being her fan card issued by the German record company "Jupiter Records" during the release of her one and only single. During the past years this single has become quite a collector's item and is highly sought after by completists collecting everything Eurocult and its stars. Blogger Space=Kudo was also fascinated by the content of the Marisa Mell-single. Most fans of Marisa Mell who are familiar with the single know that this production was a very poor attempt to cash in on the once sexy reputation of a star in decline. So Space=Kudo thought this could be done better and made a re-edit mix of this song for his terrific blog "Space=Kudo - Disco 4 ever" where in regular intervals re-edited mixes of known and lesser known music are posted. You can visit his blog: http://space-kudu.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Objectif: 500 Millions!

In autumn and early winter of 1965, Marisa Mell was filming in Paris (France). She was playing the part of fashion model Yo in the black and white French film noir "Objectif: 500 Millions" directed by Pierre Schoendoerffer with Bruno Cremer as her counterpart. The film tells the story of French army Captain Jean Reichau (Bruno Cremer) just released from prison, when he meets fashion model Yo. She proposes him to steal 500 millions old French franks from a postal plane as she is the only one to know the exacte date of the departure of the plane every month from Paris-Orly to Bordeaux. Being an ex-army soldier makes this sting easy for Reichau, knowing how to dive, parachute, handle guns, shoot and kill people if necessairy but the trouble starts when he learns that the man behind Yo is nobody other than the police officer who arrested him a few years earlier and put him behind bars for refusal of a military order in the French Indochine wars! Will he go ahead with the heist and work together with the man who is his sworn enemy or is he going to kill him in revenge for in his eyes unjust arrest in the past? The movie is one of the best Marisa Mell-movies in my opinion. It has a terrific cast opposite Marisa Mell with Bruno Cremer as Jean Richau and Jean-Claude Rolland as Pierre, who sadly commited suicide two years later on the eve of the première of his latest movie. All three are able to carry their difficult parts in this movie with not that many other actors which otherwise would very quicky become rather theater like. What is also a real joy to see in this production is the interaction between Bruno Cremer and Marisa Mell in their different scenes together. You feel the attraction between them but also the distance she has to him and her struggle with her loyality to Pierre. Another real bonus is to hear the own husky voice of Marisa Mell talking in French. In most of her films, especially the Italian and Enlgish talking movies, Marisa Mell is dubbed by another voice actress and often the voice color is totally opposite her own timbre mostly ruining the movie! Being a fashion model in this movie, Marisa Mell has the opportunity to wear some really great cloths and outfits giving her character more depths than usually in her movies. The styling of the cloths was done by "Victoire" of Paris, a then rather well known fashion house! They took their inspiration for this movie mostly from the French couturier André Courrèges. Especially the white cat suite is a direct referal to his style around 1965. What is diffecult to grasp in this movie is what kind of women the director had in mind when casting the role of Yo. As you can see from the different picture grabs, Marisa Mell and her different cloths and styles give a rather mixed image of a mature women in the mid sixties ranging from a diva with a fur coat, seductress in her white cate suit, a school girl with her sweater and skirt, a rich women in probably at that time real leopard skin coat and finally an action heroine in her diving suit. When viewing this movie and the role Marisa Mell plays you notice also the reference to two other European actresses very much en vogue at that time: Catherine Deneuve and Romy Schneider. So it could be possible that the role of Yo had also been offered to those leading ladies in Europe. And finally, as extra bonus, you hear the latest single of French singer France Gall with "Dis A Ton Capitaine". In 1965, she won the Eurovision song contest with "Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son" for Luxemburg. The song became a major hit in Europe that summer. The movie got is première on March 25 1966 in France. Since then it is sometimes seen on French television stations but generally speaken it is forgotten by the general audience.
France Gall-Dis A Ton Capitaine...

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