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Saturday, November 26, 2016

"Marisa Mell" by German Nazi photographer Arthur Grimm

In the early 60's Marisa Mell was a struggling starlet from Austria trying to break into the movie business, first in her native home country, then in Germany! It was during that time that she needed to get her name and face known to all the right people in the hope of landing a part in a next movie production. Contrary to the present days, actors and actresses often did not have an agent or a manager to land parts in movies, but had to do all the hard work themselves by going to the right parties, meeting the right people and mingling in the right circles, hence the casting couch! For Marisa Mell it was no different because beautiful women wanting to break into the movie bussiness were plenty like Karen Dor, Senta Berger, Karin Baal, Ushi Glas,... and so many more. One way of making her face known was sending photo's of herself as glamorous and seductive as possible to the production offices in the hope of getting noticed. So around 1961, just after making the movie "Lebensborn", Marisa Mell came in contact with then already controversial but still power to be German photographer Arthur Grimm from Berlin. Arthur Grimm was, together with German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, a very controversial nazi artist during WWII, who made after the war his career in showbizz by photographing actors, actresses and directors in front and behind the camera for movies and television untill his death in the 1990's. What Angelo Frontini did in Italy, Arthur Grimm did in Germany.  In spite of his nazi past, Arthur Grimm was still the man to be photographed by, so Marisa Mell took the opportunity to let him take a whole series of pictures of her in the most glamorous poses for ther portfollio. Pictures that were not free of charge, but being paid from her first earnings. Did it work out for her? Probably yes, because her next movie was a German production called "Ruf der Wildgänse".

Saturday, November 12, 2016

"Marisa - Geschichte einer Freundschaft" by Erika Pluhar (Re-edition)

On May 8, 2017 the German publishing house "Insel Verlag" will re-edit the cult book about Marisa Mell written in German by her longtime friend the Austrian actress-writer Erika Pluhar. There will be a little change in the title. The original title "Marisa-Rückblenden auf einer Freundschaft" will change into "Marisa-Geschichte einer Freundschaft". The content to my knowledge will stay the same. This re-edit marks  the twenty-first anniversary of the original publication of the hardback edition of this wonderful book in 1996. Marisa Mell is wearing on the cover of this edition of the book a gown made of black crepe falling from a single slanted diamantè strap by Helga, jewelled cuffs by Robert Originals, photo by Bert Stern, Vogue US 1967. Sadly there are no plans for issuing this book in English, which is a pity because in my opion there is still a huge marked for this book of fans wanting to read it. For readers that do not want to wait untill next year there is an e-version in German of the original book available 

Thanks to André Schneider for pointing this one out!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Marisa Mell by Bert Stern

Marisa Mell
David Webb emarald, ruby and diamond belt
Hair by Martin Downey
Photo by Bert Stern

Photo shoot for Vogue 1968 as run up to the Mata Hari musical starring Marisa Mell trying to make her a new Broadway star which in the end horribly misfired! 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Venusberg revisted


One of the most intimistic and beautiful photo's ever made for a Marisa Mell-movie.

Friday, May 13, 2016

"Time to say goodbye, Darling!"

Before the "it"-boys and girls on the internet, movie star Marisa Mell and her long time lover and professional playboy Pier Luigi Torri, were for years the center of high society and paparazzi Rome, mingling with everybody living in the Holy City, like other movie stars, artists, politicians, clergy, and ... criminals. And when you own, one of the most famous night venues in Rome, like Torri did with his bar and night club "Number One", it does not take long to draw the attention from the authorities into your wheeling and dealings. For an in depth account of these tumultuous years for both of them I refer to a previous entry on this blog "The Number One Couple".  To escape conviction and long prison time Pier Luigi Torri fled Italy in 1971 in a much publicized endeavor. On August 17th 1972, the playboy was finally arrested in Munich, Germany, by the police and handed over to the Italian authorities. The above picture of the famous couple is regarded as their last picture together, both looking very stressed, knowing that time is running out. Several days later Torri fled Italy leaving Marisa Mell behind. Their relationship was over! They would never form a couple again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


At the beginning of the 1970's, Marisa Mell was at the peak of her movie career in Italy and around the world, especially in Latino countries and the French speaking region of Europe and Canada. In a span of only several years during that period, she made around twenty movies, as a leading actress, or more than often in a supporting role, which the Italian movie industry called "con la participatione di Marisa Mell". Most of those movies are now long forgotten but some of them have reached cult status, especially the movies she made for the Spanish movie production company "Emaus". Those movies were "Pena de Muerte", "Infamia" and "La Encadenada".  La Encadenada, also known in English as "Diary of an Erotic Murderess", sigh, is regarded by a lot of Marisa Mell fans as part of her top three best movies, next to "Danger: Diabolik!" by Mario Bava and "Una Sull'Altra" by Lucio Fulci. The Italian coproducer "Metheus Films" gave the movie the Italian title "Perversione" for a first time screening during the month of May 1975. To promote this movie the Italians created some of the best lobby cards or "fotobusti" ever made for a Marisa Mell movie. Almost all of these lobby cards have Marisa Mell  in a very prominent position from a movie scene, together with a little frame with another scene of the movie. Sadly the movie was not a box office success but, as said, luckily during the passing years became a cult favorite!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Herz, Schmerz und dies und das!

Marisa Mell, as a model and actress, was a very popular subject for German pulp novels, putting her on their covers during the 60's! She graced during those early years of her career a lot of those covers, which had absolutely no reference to the content which were mostly romance novels. Here are some examples of her best covers! Enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Marta" or "Mata Al Macho Y Lo Devora" Photo novella

Marisa Mell was during the height of her movie career a major star, not only in Europe but also in almost the entire Spanish speaking countries of the world, especially in South-America. Before the rise of video, dvd and streaming in the 60's and 70's people living in those countries, who wanted to keep a part of a movie they particularly liked could only keep this momentum by buying magazines, soundtracks, novelizations or if it was available by buying photo novella's. These photo novella's were extremely popular, having print runs which are nowadays almost impossible to achieve anymore. They were often romantic stories, specially made for the magazines with its own cult following of their stars. Those stars often made the transgression into movies like Erica Blanc, Ivan Rassimov, Ornella Muti, Rosalba Neri... So it was only natural that movies with the big names from that time also ended up in print. Especially horror, western and erotic movies were very popular. One of the Marisa Mell's movies "Marta" or in Spanish known as "Mata Al Macho Y Lo Devora" from 1971 made into these magazines. Today this edition of the magazine is very hard to find in a good condition, thus very collectible.
Thanks to Stephen Boyd-fan Monica from Denver, Colorado, USA I am able to present to you in this entry some very beautiful pages and lobby cards from this cult classic Marisa Mell and Stephen Boyd movie which I had never seen before! 
Monica has also a wonderful Stephen Boyd Blog

with a lot of interesting photo's and information about the life and work of this amazing actor. I highly recommend this blog. There is also an entry with information about Stephen Boyd and Marisa Mell as a couple during 1970-1971, when they made two back to back movies together.

Monday, February 15, 2016

"Art or not art, that is the question!"

During the 80's, Marisa Mell really started to hit rock bottom trying to earn money from her movie career. She was so desperate to tap into new income sources that she started to sing, with no success, and then tried her hands at fine art by making drawings! I knew of a self portrait she had made for an exhibition. I had never seen any other art work by her hands, so I was very pleased to receive recently a notice from a good friend in Brasil of an auction of her work on the internet. After checking out the auction site and the art work at hand, it had all the elements making this piece a Marisa Mell drawing. But the question remained: was this a genuine Marisa Mell or not?  

The drawing had her characteristic signature at the bottom which she used since the beginning of her career when she adopted her movie name "Marisa Mell" starting with a well formed "M" and ending with her typical writing of the double "L", even the numbers "8" and "5" are written in her own well known style, a signature that I have seen on dozens of autographed pictures by her hand. And this one was the real deal! 

Then there was the dedication "Für Nikos An Weihnachten 1985 Marisa". I knew that Marisa Mell had once a relationship with a much younger man called Nikos around that time, so that part of the drawing was also correct. And I had seen the drawing of a little heart in the vicinity of her name on countless other autograph cards, so that was also correct.

And finally what was the most convincing element of the drawing was the style of the art itself. It was completely in accordance with the style of her self portrait that I had seen before. So in the end counting all those elements I came to the conclusion that this drawing was the real deal. A piece of art made by Marisa Mell.

And do I like it? Yes and no! Yes, because I like the quirkiness of  the style which is very raw and elemental, even aggressive. No, because I feel no connection to it on an emotional level. Nevertheless I am glad that this piece of art still exists today and is still worthy to be sold in an auction by an auction house. I think that Marisa Mell would have smiled when she knew about this.
Thanks to Daniel from Brasil for his help in finding this little gem!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Boyd Affair!

When you do research about the life, and especially the many loves of Marisa Mell, and she had a lot of them, there is always one name, and one name only, that comes to the forefront: Stephen Boyd, most famous for his American peplum movie Ben-Hur with Charleton Heston. Although Marisa Mell had another man in her past whom she loved very much, Pier Luigi Torri, but in my humble opinion, her love for him, was on one side very rational and practical, and he was after all a suave Italian business man with a lot of money at his disposal, and on the other side he was like a surrogate father and protector, she never had in her hard youth in Austria. With Stephen Boyd, it was a complete other story! 

From the first moment she lay eyes on him, Marisa Mell was touched very deeply in her soul and heart. A lot of people say that she fell in love with him because he was still a famous movie star at that moment in time and was a very beautiful manly guy but for Marisa Mell it was a lot more than that. She felt for the first time, and probably the only time in her life, what it was to be truly in love with someone. And I think it is was also the case for him, hence his hesitance at the beginning to start a relationship with her, afraid of losing himself in a romance with this absolutely beautiful woman.

But in the end he gave in and both became a very romantic couple making Marisa Mell, a very happy woman. Photo's of that romance show a very relaxed couple, enjoying their time together, being deeply in love with each other. Unfortunately, the romance was not to be permanent, and both drifted off into different directions of their lives. Sadly Stephen Boyd died very young on June 2nd 1977, due to a heart attack at the age of 45. Had this not happened, maybe, they would have found together in a later phase of their lives. One thing is for sure that Marisa Mell never forgot Stephen Boyd often referring to him when she was in a sentimental mood when getting older...and lonelier. 

Thanks to major Stephen Boyd fan Monica Diedrich for providing these wonderful pictures of the couple!