The Marisa Mell Blog is a non-commercial educational blog! If you own copyright protected material and do not wish it to appear on this site it will be promptly removed after contacting us.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This is not a movie!

The 70's were not entirely a fun period in Italy and Europe with new music, new bands, new film trends and fashions but it was also a period of great political upheaval especially in Italy with the Red Brigades and Germany with the Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF). Two (extreme) left groups trying to destabilize the political and civilian order at that time in Italy and Germany by planning and executing terrorists attacts on governmental and civilian targets.
It was a time of a lot terrorist attacts in both countries. This was one of the reasons why in Italy a new film genre became a runaway success called the "Poliziottesco movies". What people saw in the movies happened in real life on their streets in front of their eyes and front porches of their homes. Killings, violence, blasting bombs, car chases in city streets... you name it - it happened. The evening news was often full of those stories again and again. Sadly reality is that it is not a movie so the spiral of violence reached its peak in 1978 in Italy when on March 16th 1978 the former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro got kidnapped by the Brigate Rosse.

The tension in Italy during that time among the politicians, civilians and army was extreme. The political establishment did not know how to handle this crisis and the fear of complete chaos and revolution was very real. The entire country was in a state of alert. All the major roads into the major cities in Italy had road blocks with police and army garding and inspecting the traffic in and out these cities. Rome was no exception. In the week of March 31st 1978, Marisa Mell decided to make a trip to the country side with her mother when, around 50 kilometers outside Rome in the village of Cerveteri she was halted and ordered to open the trunk of her Mercedes. After inspection she could continue her trip. So even she could not escape the political reality in Italy. On May 9th 1978, Aldo Moro was found dead in a parked Renault 4 after 55 days of being kidnapped!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life is not like a box of chocolates more like a stable full of shit!

If Marisa Mell knew this famous sentence from the movie "Forrest Gump" she would have surely thought it while modeling for this photo shoot but that was not the case since the 1994 "Tom Hanks" movie came out after her death in 1992. Nevertheless this photo is one of the most strange pictures ever taken of Marisa Mell as a model. Whenever fans are talking about Marisa Mell in relation to photographers almost always the name of Angelo Frontoni comes up. His name will eternally be linked to hers but there is also another very famous photographer who worked with her and was the brain (!) behind this picture. His name was "Howell Conant". Howell Conant (1917-1999) was a photographer mostly working for the ultra American life and life style magazine called "Life Magazine". He rose to world fame when he became in the 50's the court photographer of the Grimaldi family in Monaco when one of his best friends actress Grace Kelly became Princess Gracia after her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco.
So for the January 28th 1966 issue of this magazine the editor had the brilliant idea of making an article about the rising European female stars and starlets. Hence entered staff photographer Howell Conant. He got the assignment to shoot these beautifull women like Catherine Deneuve and her sister Françoise Dorléac, Susannah York, Marilu Tolu, Stephania Sandrelli and many others for the article in an unusual setting. In the article you can see the ladies lying between water melons, around dogs, in the grass, between windows... and Marisa Mell was so lucky to be shot in a cow stable dressed to the hilt in a black gala dress surrounded by cows.

I always wondered how she might have felt that day while posing for Conant. What went trough her mind? Nothing can be deducted from her face which is rather icy cold looking into the lens but she surely must have hated it. Nevertheless everything for showbizz so... Luckily for Marisa Mell this article was some kind of opening for her to Hollywood, which she later rejected, and from all the competing actresses in the spread she was first in the picking order and got two pictures in the article with the most accompanying text. Probably the editor also thought that this picture was way over the top and wanted to make a gesture to the actress for enduring this shit.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Everybody Has Something To Hide" (Mata Hari)

In December of 1967, Marisa Mell starred in the musical Mata Hari. The try-out in Washington D.C. was a disaster. For example, Marisa Mell as Mata Hari was executed at the end of the play and "died" but before closing curtains she rised again making the audience laugh out loud! And there were other goofs so that the producer David Merrick decided to cancel the whole production even before it went to Broadway, NY, leaving behind a devistated Marisa Mell. In hinsight she never got over this faillure in her career. To my knowledge there are no film tapes available of this production but only bootleg audio tapes. Here is an example of Marisa Mell as Mata Hari singing the song "Everybody Has Something To Hide" referring to her spy activities during World War I in Europe. You will notice that Marisa Mell is not really singing but more or less talking her lyrics with a melodious voice. She could definitely not sing! Note: because this is a bootleg audiotape of the try-out with audience the quality is not that good but it is at the moment the only 43 year old recording of that production.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Summer of '64

Summer 2010 is finally over on the Northern hemisphere and autumn is upon us but Marisa Mell is still enjoying the summer of '64 on a Mediterranean beach relaxing after a busy movie year and preparing for her next shoot in the fall as this staged photo shows!
Trivia: this is one of very few close-up pictures where you can see clearly the teeth of Marisa Mell. In most of her close-up pictures her mouth is closed.