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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Merry X-mas and Happy New Year!

The Marisa Mell Blogspot will be back on
January 11th 2010.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Butterfly Among Flies!

In the hot summer of 1971, Marisa Mell got together with fellow Eurocult stars Guiliano Gemma and George Eastman in Almeria (Spain), under the guidance of director Michele Lupo, to film the comedy western "Amico, Stammi Lontano Almeno Un Palmo" or better known under its English title "Ben and Charlie". The Italian premiere was on February 4th 1972. The story was written by George Eastman under his birth name Luigi Montefiori and his writing partner Sergio Donati. The movie tells the story of two friends (?) Ben and Charlie who are trying to get rich quickly but always stumble on unforeseen troubles loosing always the opportunity to finish the heist or try to trick each other for the stolen money in the end loosing it again. Almost the complete movie centres around those two men except for one segment where the story centers around Guiliano Gemma as Ben Bellow and Marisa Mell as Sarah.
At first glance, this little storyline in the entire movie is just a scene written for Marisa Mell to give her a chance to do her part opposite then Italian super star Guiliano Gemma. Nothing more than a glorified cameo in anotherwise rather chaotic movie! But after seeing that scene several times the attentive viewer starts to notice that this part of the movie is rather a little movie in the movie superbly played by Gemma and Mell. Marisa Mell as Sarah enters the story in a stage coach on her way to San Diego. She has to wait in the outpost to catch another stage coach with fresh horses. During her wait under a merciless sun, she is noticed by Ben, who recognizes her from his past. At first the couple flirts a little as though they are strangers for each other untill the bom is dropped by Sarah. Ben Bellow is a former lover of her who has left her standing in front of the altar almost three years ago. Sarah confronts him with this fact and mentions that he fears to commit himself in a relationship and is not able to say the words "I love you" to the person he loves! Ben tries to mend the still hurt Sarah by telling her that she has done well in life without him when he sees her expensive appearance. When asking what she now does to earn money she coldly tells him that she still is a hooker as when they first met. It hurts Ben to hear this. During the next conversation the couple starts to come together again but before anything can happen the stage coach for San Diego arrives and Sarah has to be on it. By now, Sarah has forgiven Ben for his mistakes and she looks at him with other eyes. She even wants him to have some money she has saved for her stay in San Diego. Ben refuses the money and asks her to wait a few months so that he can fetch her in San Diego when he has struck gold. The stage coach gathers speed and disappears with a stunned Ben on the horizon knowing that he probably has lost the love of his life. This part of the movie is one of my all time favorite scenes with Marisa Mell because everything comes together in this scene. Let me explain. First the couple meet at a cross road for stage coaches with different directions to take them to other parts of the country. This cross road stands for the cross road of their lives. They were to get married three years ago but Ben got scared and left Sarah at the altar. Now he has the opportunity again to fix his mistake. She has the opportunity to forgive him for that mistake. When they can surpass themselves they can be together again because it is clear that they are still in love with each other. Sarah is able to forgive him for his mistake symbolized by the money she is willing to offer him so that he can have for a short time a decent life. In other words, Sarah values Ben again which is represented by the money she is willing to give him. Ben on the other hand is still fighting with himself. He has to choose between a stable life with Sarah on one side and a life as a gold digger and gambler on the other side. What will he choose? Sadly he comes to late to the conclusion that he wants to stay with Sarah, destiny in form of a stage coach decides for him. He has lost her again and Sarah leaves the cross road of his life again, probably for ever lost to him. This is a very well written scene by Luigi Montefiori and Sergio Donati. Not only that but the execution of that scene by the director Michele Lupo is also first class. He uses a lot of close ups so that the viewer can see first hand the reactions of both protagonists. The hurt, desire, longing and finally the disappointment that they have failed again and that life will take them again into another seperate direction. Lupo also uses a lot of shots and counter shots to point out the difference between both. The original soundtrack by Gianni Ferrio, and especially Sarah's Theme with it's sentimental overtone completes the whole scene. Once you have heard that theme you'll never forget it!

And then there is the appearance of both characters to show the audience that both people are complete opposites of each other on every level. And that is a long list. Here we go: Ben is male, Sarah is female. Ben has short blond hair, Sarah has long dark brown hair. Ben has a red shirt, Sarah has a green dress. Ben's shirt has holes in it, just like his life of failures while Sarah's dress is as new as just bought in a store. Ben has a short red ribbon around his straw head, Sarah has a long green ribbon around her head, even more Ben's head is more the straw head for a girl while Sarah's head is almost a bowler head for a man indicating that she is decisive in live while Ben is undecisive like a young girl who does not know what to do with her live. Ben has a leather ribbon around his neck, Sarah has a silver necklace with heart shape pendant covered with diamonds in two color gold, white and yellow. This necklace indicates that Sarah has a torn heart and is a torn women. And so to my belief, Ben and Sarah could never have come together. They were just to different to connect. Sarah says it best during this scene: I am a butterfly among flies. And that makes this scene one of my favorite Marisa Mell clips!

But the story doesn't end there. The heart shaped diamond pendant around Marisa Mell's neck is a rather strange object. The question remains if this necklace belonged to Marisa Mell from her private collection (maybe given to her by a lover???) or that she fell in love with the necklace after the production of the movie and took it home. I believe that the necklace was from her private collection and that she wore it during the shooting of the movie. Fact is that almost ten years later the heart shaped diamond pendant resurfaced again around her neck in public. As many of you know from a former entry, Marisa Mell has made a single called "Slave of Love", produced by Ralph Siegel. To promote this single she made an autograph card with a picture from a sexy photo shoot for a skin magazine. And around her neck the pendant appeared again. This time giving a completely different message from an older sexual mature women seeing herself as a "Slave of Love". Unfortunately for Marisa Mell, this carreer was very short lived. And so the heart shaped diamond pendant disappeared never to be seen again.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Alex und der Löwe" - The end is near!

As many of you know by reading this blog during the past months Marisa Mell filmographer André Schneider, actor - director - all round whiz boy regarding movie making, has made last summer in Berlin, Germany, a movie about love, hate, friends, separation and everything in between. Now the movie "Alex und der Löwe" is in its final stages of post production and so the end is near of an almost impossible production schedule for André and his cast and production crew. As everybody knows the final stages of a task are always the hardest and many have failed but in this case the work will get done whatever the cost because this group of dedicated creative people have made a special bond during the past months full of hardship while making this movie! André Schneider has written a production diary of the movie that you can read here
and here

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Amarilla - Help wanted!

Being in the movie business is a tricky business. Nothing is more uncertain than making a movie. Everybody in the business will confirm this. Of every movie made, dozens of movies are not made or fail during some stage in the production process. So much can happen untill the final movie is delivered to the producers. So each actor or actress has many movie projects on their resumé that could have been. Even so for Marisa Mell. A few weeks ago I stumbled on an article about Marisa Mell in a Spanish magazine. The 1971 article was mainly about the movie she was shooting at that time in Spain called "Historia de una traición" or also known as "Carla e Lola". Nothing exceptionel except for one sentence in the article. Marisa Mell says that (naturally) she loves being in Spain and that her next film project will be a movie called "Amarilla". That was new to me! Untill that moment I had never heard of a movie or movie project called "Amarilla" connected to Marisa Mell or any other Eurostar from that era like Edwige Fenech, Erica Blanc,... . Checking the internet with all its usual sources did not give any information at all. A total blank! Damned. So this one remains a mystery. The Spanish word "Amarilla" means to my knowledge "Yellow". Could it be that this movie was a Spanish version of an Italian "Giallo", which also means "Yellow"? I don't know, but it could be. The Spanish have also made several Gialli during the high time of this genre in European cinema. Or could the movie well being made without Marisa Mell with another actress under a completely different title? Amarilla could have been the production title that is being lost once the official title was used to promote the movie. Who knows? At the moment nothing is certain. So therefore I would like to launch an appeal to the many thousands of readers each and every month of this blog about this movie "Amarilla". Is there someone in cyberspace that knows more about this obscure movieproject once called "Amarilla"? If so I would gladly like to receive this information for a possibly future entry on this blog. When the entry will be published name credit will be given. You can email me at: Thanks!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Pena de Muerte"-Interview with director Jorge Grau

In 1973 Marisa Mell made a Spanish production under the guidance of director Jorge Grau called "Pena de Muerte". The movie is better known under its English title as "Violent Blood Bath" or its Italian one "Vita privata di un pubblico accusatore".

The movie is kind of a murder mystery with not much action rather more a suspense film. Although the story telling is slow the movie has a lot of fan following accumulated during the years and has become a fan favorite for many.

The always excellent well written and documented Spanish blog La abadía de Berzano (El rincón de los cinefagos más desprejuiciados) written mostly by José Luis Salvador Estébenez, Jesús Palop and Fernando Rodríguez were able to catch an interview with Spanish cult director Jorge Grau during his stay at the "X Festival de cine fantástico y de terror de Estepona" last september 2009.

The interviewer was Jesús Palop. He was able to let Jorge Grau talk about his life in the movies, the movies he directed and the stars he worked with. He also talked about his impression of Marisa Mell when they first met each other and how she came to be selected for her role in the movie they made together.

With passing years the creative people who have worked during the Eurocult years in the 60's and 70's are dwindling at a rapid speed. Although there is a lot of material available about the life and work of the stars, directors and producers it is always good to hear the behind the scenes stories from those people directly involved in the creative process during those years. This kind of interview should be done more often now that there is still time as a keep. In 10 or 15 years it is too late. Therefore this interview is a great entry and gives a clear picture of who Jorge Grau is and what his motives were for making the movies that he has done.

You can read the excellent interview here.

Thanks guys!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The “Marisa Mell” DIY Hour!

…And we are back after this commercial break with the second part of the Marisa Mell “Do-It-Yourself” Hour were Austrian beauty and famous movie star Marisa Mell teaches us to DIY in a very responsable way. Remember, safety comes first with DIY! This part of the hour we are going to concentrate on redecorating a kitchen or living room. Before starting to redecorate your room you should always read up on the latest fashion trends for your new interior by checking out the latest issues of your favorite yellow press magazine where the stars and starlets of the moment show you without remorse their living, bed and bathrooms that they have build and furnished thanks to generous sponsors and are now willing to sell the photo’s to the gossip magazines, which they otherwise loath, for megabucks. No problem. No privacy issues here, darling. Ubermoney in their pockets can be very persuasive to open up otherwise closed doors. Only when paparazi are taking pictures from the stars without the stars getting the money than privacy becomes a big issue for them. Notice the professional DIY cloths that Marisa Mell is wearing to do the job! Nothing less than the top designers of our time are good enough! You should not settle for less, baby, when renovating your home. Remember, dressed for the occassion makes the work already half done! And if you have no suitable cloths for the job then it is a good excuse to take sugar daddy with you on another shopping spree to the Champs Elysée, Knightsbridge or Fifth Avenue and maybe if he is really in a good mood he’ll even take you with his Lear Jet to Dubai or Hong Kong to browse the designer stores. We keep our fingers crossed! So ask him gently! Somebody has to carry the credit cards and shopping bags, honey, and it centainly isn’t going to be you! When your sugar daddy of the moment and you have returned from the trip it is time to get things done in your new home. Be fully dressed up as if you’re going to meet the Queen of England. Now is the perfect moment to invite your favorite yellow press magazine to take pictures of you and your hubby in exchange for big dow while pretending to be working in the kitchen. The common people will love this. While taking the pictures look as if you know what you are doing, as if you have done these things a thousand times in all your homes scattered around the world. Do not look directly into the lens of the camera but look at your partner or into the room that you are going to decorate. Let you better half look into some kind of a manual pretending to know what he is reading although he has no clue what you have given him. So it doesn’t matter what the booklet is about, let’s call it a prop. And finally try to stand elegantly while taking the pictures. You are a first class actress, schooled in one of the best theatre schools in the world. So you know how to stand on a stage floor, don’t you? So no crouching, girlfriend, unless the object you carry is really heavy. And now to the centre piece: redecorating the living room. First you remove all the old wall papers from the walls. Never mind removing them while you are working. It gives the room a rather cosy atmosphere and shows the work that you already have done. Besides they can catch very well the painting that might be dripping from your paint brush. You should already be proud of yourself. Next you need to find a ladder to work the upper parts of the walls of your room. The best ladders to work with are the ones that are the most unbalanced. This makes it easy to reach a large part of the walls without getting each time down from the ladder and replacing the damned thing to the next spot and climbing up again. A plus also is always having small steps on the ladder so you can come down very quickly if it is necessary for example when a female friend calls you to ask how work is progressing or asking to go to lunch with her. Because you are already dressed to the hilt you just have to put everything aside and make it to the restaurant. Another inside tip is wearing shoes that have high heels. They give the extra weight that you might need to keep the ladder and yourself in balance. And while talking of balance. Always put the ladder as far away as possible from the wall that you are going to paint. The best distance is when you just can reach the wall with the brush of your paint brush. A friend of mine gave the advice to put always a person that you love between yourself, the ladder and the wall that you are painting. So when you might fall down he is there to catch you in a romantic way. And while he is standing there anyway he might as well be useful to you so give him the bucket with the paint to hold. As a compensation for the long hours standing you might like to wear a mini skirt as eye candy for your man like Marisa Mell does. And that’s the way you should DIY. Next time in the “Marisa Mell DIY Hour” we will be tackling the garden. Untill next time! Goodnight, DIY'ers

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Frank McCarthy - A Diabolikal Artist

Every fan of the 1968 cult Mario Bava movie "Danger: Diabolik" knows this US-poster version of the movie. Before the Internet as a commercial vehicle, the movie posters, lobby cards and press books were the most important commercial tools to get the movie to the targeted audience. So a lot of attention was put into the creative process of making the poster as attractive as possible to lure the movie buffs into the theatre. During the golden era of the cinema the creation of an attention grabing poster became the speciality of a few master illustrators. One of the most famous artists was Robert McGinnes, known for his ultimate James Bond movie posters like "Diamonds are forever"or Raquel Welch from the movie "The Biggest Bundle Of Them All"
Another as much talented artist working in the field of painted movie posters was Frank McCarthy. Everyone knows his movie posters but very few people know the name of the man behind these posters, even for die-hard "Danger: Diabolik!" fans. Who was the man who created the Diabolik poster? Like many illustrators of his era, young Frank McCarthy was enthralled by the adventurous, courageous exploits of Prince Valiant, Flash Gordon, and the characters N.C. Wyeth brought to life — so much so that the walls of his boyhood tree house were covered with copies he'd drawn of the beloved illustrations. This early fascination with daring, athletic heroes has carried through his dual-career life. McCarthy was not only a prolific illustrator of paperback covers, magazine stories, and major advertising for films from the 1940 's through the late 1960 's, he also became an outstanding fine arts Western painter from the end of the 60's to the present.Born in 1924 in New York City, McCarthy drew pictures throughout his grade school years in Scarsdale, New York. As a teenager, he ventured into Manhattan to study during the summer at the Art Students League under George Bridgman, the author of many anatomy books, who gave him a strong appreciation for the dynamic human form. He was later a student of Reginald Marsh, a well-known painter of the Depression Era. Pratt Institute followed high school, where, McCarthy modestly claims, "I was by far not the best student — but somehow I managed to muddle through." During that time he attended many fascinating and edifying lectures at the Society of Illustrators by great artists such as John Gannam, Al Parker, and Harold Von Schmidt. Soon after graduation, McCarthy worked as an apprentice at Illustrators Incorporated, where he wrapped packages, made deliveries, and assembled mechanicals. Once he became a staff artist he worked on many Saturday Evening Post ads for which he had to retouch his own veloxes.
This task required fastidious attention to pattern, value, and contrast, which was to become a well-respected and sought after hallmark of his work.The artist went freelance in 1946 (his first job earned him $7.50). In the early 50's he joined Fredman Studio, which would later become the Fredman Chaite Studios. His reputation began to grow as that of a talented illustrator of both paperback covers and magazine stories — especially those with Western, action-oriented, or as McCarthy puts it, "shoot 'em up bang bang" themes. While producing for magazines, such as Collier's, Outdoor Life, Redbook, True, and publishers, including Avon, Dell, and Fawcett, McCarthy developed his trademark skills. He possessed an adept control of color values and contrasts which reproduced extremely well. He also had an ability to conceive and execute scenes at the climax of action and drama, whether it be two cowboys with their guns drawn, or Native American warriors charging into battle. And he was not solely concerned with the action. McCarthy enhanced it by placing his figures within the grandeur of stunning American landscapes — red-rocked canyons, sage bush deserts, snow covered mountain ranges. During his busiest periods, McCarthy painted up to four book covers a month.In the 1960s film studios took advantage of the fact that illustrators, rather than photographers, could often better dramatize a story's plot, themes, and characters in one coherent, compelling image. "There was no one better than Frank McCarthy for the action movies," remarks illustration historian Walt Reed. "Anything they couldn't photograph, they'd have me paint," recalls McCarthy. He flourished as an illustrator of advertising imagery (including posters, record cover art and the like) for major movie studios like Paramount, United Artists, Universal, and Warner Brothers. He painted many movie stars — almost always from film stills — including John Wayne in "The Green Berets," Sean Connery in "Thunderball," Charlton Heston in "The Ten Commandments," and James Garner in "The Great Escape."McCarthy remembers a particularly challenging job during this busy time: creating the recognizable likenesses of Tony Curtis and Yul Brynner as they battled each other with swords while on horseback. "It's hard to do because when two guys are fighting, their faces don't look the same as they do in everyday life. And they were in profile, not head on." Numerous versions later, the image for "Taras Bulba" was completed for United Artists.In 1968 McCarthy began to move away from commercial illustration when Charlie Dorsa, a good friend from his first studio job, proprelled him into the world of Western fine art. Dorsa introduced him to a sales person at a gallery who, upon seeing McCarthy's paperback covers, remarked, "If you can do that for me, I can sell them."McCarthy took him up on the offer and within just a few years he stopped doing commercial work around 1968 and devoted himself exclusively to painting Western art for galleries nationwide. In 1975 he was invited to join the Cowboy Artists of America. He was inducted into the Society of Illustrators "Hall of Fame" in 1997. Frank McCarthy died of lung cancer on November 17th 2002.

Gallery of stunning movie posters created by Frank McCarthy

They Came To Rob Las Vegas (1968)
(Notice that he uses the same machine gun as in the Diabolik poster. BTW this poster has a very beautiful rendition of German actress Elke Sommer while on the Diabolik poster Marisa Mell is hardly recognizable!)

The Dirty Dozen (1967)
(Again with the same machine gun which was probably quite populair in that era in movies and on posters!)
The Mercenaries (1968)

A Distant Trumpet (1964)

Kharthoum (1966)

Day of Anger (1967)

Judith (1966)