Monday, July 10, 2017

Elsa Martinelli Passes On

Elsa Martinelli, the beautiful Italian star who appeared in such films as The Indian Fighter (1955), Blood and Roses (1960), and The V.I.P.s (1963), died on July 8 2017 at the age of 82. The cause was cancer.

Elsa Martinelli was born in Grosseto, Tuscany on January 30 1935. She delivered groceries and worked at a bar before she was discovered by designer Roberto Capucci in 1953. She then began a highly successful career as a model, appearing in Mr. Capucci's first collection. She modelled for Ford Models in Paris and New York City. She made her film debut in one of the segments of the film Se vincessi cento milioni (1953).  She then appeared in an uncredited part in Le rouge et le noir (1954) before starring in her first Hollywood film, The Indian Fighter, in 1955.

In the Fifties Miss Martinelli appeared in films made in Europe, Britain, and Hollywood, including La risaia (1956), Donatella (1956), Four Girls in Town (1957), Manuela (1957), La Mina (1958),  I battellieri del Volga (1959), La notte brava (1959), Et mourir de plaisir (1960--better known in English as Blood and Roses), and Le capitan (1960).

The Sixties not only saw Elsa Martinelli continue appearing in films made in multiple countries, but also saw her appear on television as well. She starred in such films as Hatari! (1962), The Trial (1962), The V.I.P.s (1963), Rampage (1963), La fabuleuse aventure de Marco Polo (1965),  La decima vittima (1965), Maroc 7 (1967), Le plus vieux métier du monde (1967--known in English as The Oldest Profession), Woman Times Seven (1967), Un dollaro per 7 vigliacchi (1968), Candy (1968), If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), and OSS 117 prend des vacances (1970).  She appeared on the TV show The Rogues.

In the Seventies Miss Martnelli appeared in the films La araucana (1971), La part des lions (1971), and Garofano rosso (1976). She guest starred on the TV shows Return of the Saint and Astuzia per astuzia. In the Eighties she played Anastasia on the TV series Atelier. She appeared in the films Sono un fenomeno paranormale (1985), Pigmalione 88 (1988), and Arrivederci Roma (1990). In the Nineties she played Carlotta Pirri on the TV series Alles Glück dieser Erde. She guest starred on the TV series Il barone. She appeared in the film Once Upon a Crime... (1992) and Cabiria, Priscilla e le altre (1999). In the Naughts she played on the TV show Orgoglio.

Elsa Martinelli was certainly beautiful. The Sydney Morning Herald described her as "...a kind of Audrey Hepburn with sex appeal." While I would argue that Audrey Hepburn had plenty of sex appeal, I do agree that Elsa Martinelli was very similar to her. Like Audrey she was a gorgeous brunette. Like Audrey she was very stylish. And like Audrey she had a very coy sort of charm. Of course, while Elsa Martinelli was beautiful and charming, like Audrey she was also a very talented actress. In Donatella she played the title character, a simple and honest daughter of a bookbinder. In Four Girls in Town she played a very different role from Donatella, that of Italian beauty Maria Antonelli, whose primary gift is in drawing men to her In Hatari! she played yet another different role, that of animal loving photojournalist Anna Maria "Dallas" D'Alessandro. Elsa Martinelli wasn't just another pretty face. She was an actress who could play a rather wide variety of roles and do them well.

No comments: