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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Room of Fear!

This week I got a nice email from "Marisa Mell" fan James West. James has send me this nice picture of a room in his house containing a framed Italian locadina from the 1966 movie "City of Fear" also known in the latin countries as "La Diabolica Spia". This movie poster is for a lot of Marisa Mell fans one of the best, if not the best, painted picture of her. The framed movie poster is huge, measuring 140 cm in length x 200 cm in height, so you need a big wall to hang this little baby! By the look of it, the poster is in very good condition which is quite rare because copies of the posters where often glued to the movie marquee with wall paper glue above the entrance of the cinema being confronted during several weeks with the elements of nature like burning sun, heavy wind or rain, dirt.... When the movie had run its course the movie poster was torn down or overglued with a new movie poster for next weeks programme. In the end not many posters survived in prestine folded never used condition or better known as "mint" condition.
How did James West became involved with Marisa Mell and Italian cinema bis in general?

" I used to just be into mainstream films but a couple of years back I got interested in B-movies after watching "Nightmare Castle" with Barbara Steele and Helga Line. I became smitten with Helga Line and that started to peak my interest into Italian cinema which led me to Barbara Bouchet and...Marisa Mell...who are now two of my favorite international actresses of the 60's & 70's. I came across that poster and it just blew me away, not only the artistic beauty of Marisa Mell and the fact it's probably the best rendering of her on any poster, but as a whole it's simply a classic looking piece of Italian cinema art that I can imagine being out in the small Italian cinemas of the late 1960's! " And so can I, James!

As James West mentions he has a great movie site called:You can visit his site at:

Thanks James for the contribution to this entry!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Body Double with Sybil Danning!

This week I was watching an episode of the cult German krimi series "Derrick" played by former Edgar Wallace movie actor Horst Tappert as inspector Stephan Derrick and Fritz Klein as his eternal side kick Harry Klein. The episode was called "Zeichen der Gewalt", first broadcast in 1975 on May 4th by the commercial state television station "ZDF". The episode was part 8 in a very long running series of 281 episodes covering 25 seasons (!) from 1974 untill 1998. This German krimi was and still is one of the most succesfull television series ever being broadcast in more than 100 countries in the world. Even today in countries like France there is still on one channel or another a re-run of Derrick and Italy is probably a country having the most Derrick fans knowing every episode by heart, who did what to whom and why and connecting every episode with every guest star.
And guest stars there were a lot during its run! Although Derrick was a fairly common detective series it came in a time in the mid 70's when a lot of actors and actresses made, more or less out of necessity, the transition from cinema into television. And they were not only B-actors or actresses. During its run you could see parts played by Curd Jürgens, Horst Buchholz, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Gunther Stoll, Götz George, Lili Palmer, Karin Baal, Judy Winter, Ushi Glas, Maria Schell, Cornelia Fröboes,... and exciting was the fact that one of those stars could be the murderer which was fairly new at that time in part a trend the American crime series "Columbo" with Peter Falk had started at the beginning of the 1970's.
The episode "Zeichen der Gewalt" tells the story of a Bavarian gangster played by beefcake Raimund Harmstorf, fresh from his mega success "Der Seewolf", escaping from prison by black mailing a lawyer into giving him a gun in prison after which he kills a guard while breaking free! On the run he hides in a night club which he used to run as a manager. So after the killing of the guard Derrick comes in to investigate the murder and trying to find the gangster. Obviously the trail of the killer leads Derrick to his previous work place and while Derrick is there the lights go down... and a striptease begins performed by the wife of the gangster.

After having seen this striptease I was silent for some time, not quite realising what I had just seen. Ok, the striptease was fairly dull and uninspired but I had some kind of déjà vue. The actress I had recognized as a very young Sybil Danning, later to become a major B-star in American action movies during the Reagan era of the mid 80's in the same vein as Birgit Nielsen. What was it that stunned me??? I had to look again at that part of the show. In the back of my mind, a suspicion began to form. Oh, my God! This could not be possible??? Could it??? After having seen the striptease for several times I was fairly sure that my suspicion was correct! It had to be!
The part of stripper performed by Sybil Danning was a part that originally had been offered to Marisa Mell. Now I was certain! Sybil Danning was so much looking like Marisa Mell, almost a body double! The same length of hair, the same cut, the same make up, the same body language, the same movements and look in the camera... everything oozed Marisa Mell only she was not on screen... it was a body double! My whole being knew that this was correct only how to prove it??? My first instinct told me to look in the direction of the Edgar Wallace movies. After the collapse of the Edgar Wallace franchise in the mid '70's, a lot of directors like Helmuth Ashley, director of Marisa Mell's Edgar Wallace movie "Das Rätsel der roten Orchidee" or the ultimate Edgar Wallace director Alfred Vohrer with 14 movies, switched trades to Derrick. They knew how to make a good krimi like in the 60's but now updated for television. But... it was no use! There was no connection. But who was the director of this episode??? It was Theodor Grädler! And then I knew!
Theodor Grädler was the second director on the 1972 made for television movie "Elisabeth-Ich möchte ein Möve sein!" After the ZDF rejected the first cut of the movie by Jörg Eggers it was partially reshot with a second director none other than Theodor Grädler. So there you had it! Theodor Grädler knew Marisa Mell very well after having worked with her on this tv movie which had a lot of flack during its production days! Once he got the script for the episode "Zeichen der Gewalt" in the series Derrick, he must have thought of Marisa Mell for the part of the wife and stripper. He knew she had done several memorable stripteases in her movie career like in "Le Dolce Signore" or in "Una Sull'Altra". She was perfect for the role! I am certain that the part was offered to her. One reason or another, she did not accept it! Was it that she thought she was to old to do it??? Was it that she did not wanted to do television anymore after the debacle of the Elisabeth movie??? Was it because she found the role to lean and not worthy of her talent??? Or was it that she had enough of being again a stripper??? Who knows??? She did not do it in person but the whole scene in the episode has the spirit of Marisa Mell! In the end Marisa Mell did not ever appear as a guest star on the Derrick series like other more famous stars did. Personally I find this a pity, rather strange knowing her talent and screen presence and a hole in the filmography of Marisa Mell. I would have so much have liked to have seen her opposite Horst Tappert playing a victim or a murderer with her husky voice, emerald green eyes and sensuous looks. That would have been grant. Fortunately there are other stripteases of Marisa Mell to marvel at like the one from Una Sull'Altra, her most famous one!
Would you like to know more about Derrick, the stars and the episodes?

The Derrick Fan-blog is your one and only stop:

Thanks for the use of the pictures in this entry!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tee with Marisa Mell at Zara's in Graz!

Although Marisa Mell left us almost 20 years ago, and not being that famous like other actresses like Marilyn Monroe who have also gone to the other side, she is still, as I have often written, very present in the conscience of a group of people, mostly those who are fascinated with Eurocult movies, especially the Italian ones or who are working in the creative business like movies, television, art or... in this case the fashion industry. So it was nice to see that the global Spanish fashion house "Zara" sold this spring 2011 in her stores a black T-shirt with the image of Marisa Mell on front of it.
The image on the T-shirt comes from the 1969 giallo movie "Una Sull' Altra" directed by cult director Lucio Fulci with Jean Sorel and Elsa Martinelli as the other protagonists next to Marisa Mell. As you can imagine the image of a kneeling Marisa Mell in front of Jean Sorel trying to open his trousers' zipper to have oral sex was, and still is, one of the most shocking images to be seen in this movie, lobby card or billboard even at the end of the 60's when the sexual liberation in the Western world was in full swing. It was not a sight that was often seen in a movie at that time even in any kind of movie! You had to wait untill the 1972 X-movie "Deep Throat" with Linda Lovelace to take it to a new level in oral erotica on the silver screen.
So powerfull was this image that the American distributor of the movie changed the title into "Perversion Story" to accommodate the image with a appropriate titel. Thus making this film look like a very sleazy movie. Everything for the box office!
With or without a sleazy title the movie did very well in the world and is now regarded among giallo fans as one of the top 10 movies of the genre!
Thanks to Jochen from Graz for pointing this one out in his home town. Jochen is a big Eurocult fan covering every aspect of the genre. He is also closely connected to a phantastic site called:
The image of Marisa Mell on the tram was not in Graz but was a photo composition made by me with a tram photographed in Amsterdam.
The photo of Marisa Mell used on the tram to make the photo composition was sent to me by André Schneider from Berlin! Thanks buddy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Marlies & Erika!

At the end of her life when she was diagnosed with throat cancer Marisa Mell was living back in Vienna (Austria) after having lived in Rome (Italy) for decades. It was not a free choice of hers but out of necessity having no more money to spend and live "la dolce vita", the life of the rich and famous as she had done so many years in the highest political and cultural circles. The lights of showbizz had been dimmed a long time ago, friends had gone on to other places and showbizz friendships and even a devoted partner for life was nowhere to be seen. Marisa Mell was all alone except for a few very devoted friends like Father Laun, at that time a parish priest in Vienna, now Bishop, who helped her to earn some money by working for him and others and her agent Agnes Rehling was tried to book new roles in movies, theatre or television productions. And then of course there was a long time friend "Erika Pluhar", who wrote a wonderful book about her deep friendship with Marlies Moitzi, who later became the international film star "Marisa Mell". In this clip, Erika Pluhar tells about the time when she and Marlies went to theatre school, how stunningly beautiful she was and how, when she had survived till today, would probably had regained her career to take more mature roles like for example Michelle Pfeifer did!

The above clip comes from the DVD "Gaslicht", a made-for-TV remake of a Ingrid Bergman film from the 1940's with Erika Pluhar as "Bella Manningham". Next clip is for many Marisa Mell fans one of her best and most beautifuly shot movies the giallo "La Encadenada". Here you can clearly see what Erika Pluhar is talking about when mentioning the beauty of her best friend.

Thanks to Marisa Mell filmographer André Schneider for the clips of Erika Pluhar and Marisa Mell in "La Encadenada"'. André Schneider has written a great in depth review for this movie and many other Marisa Mell movies on his blog