Gina Lollobrigida

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Gina Lollobrigida Pencil Portrait
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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


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Last update: 11/10/14

In 2013, she was embroiled in a legal battle with her “toy boy” former lover, and in 2014, her son and sole heir to her £30m fortune, would move swiftly to have his mother’s affairs managed by a court-appointed administrator, amidst fears fears that a coterie of young male advisers might be taking advantage of the former screen siren.

The actress, famously dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world” during her heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, was incensed at this interference. “I am perfectly capable,” she told the several high profile newspapers, adding that she still “travelled the world” despite her advanced years.

At 86, Gina Lollobrigida’s present circumstances typify those of millions for whom several all important questions must be asked – when do we start ‘losing it’ and is it possible to recognise those early signs ourselves?

Recommended viewing

Trapeze (1956)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956)

Solomon and Sheba (1959)

Go naked in the world (1961)

Woman of Straw (1964)

Finally available on Blue Ray – and no, the wait wasn’t worth it – this bodged re-mastered project cannot undermine what is essentially a much underrated thriller. Fresh from his initial two Bond outings, Sean Connery is Anthony “Tony” Richmond, a man with a taste for fast cars and women, who despises his elderly uncle with a passion. Ralph Richardson plays the ruthless wheelchair bound business tycoon who deprived Tony’s father of half the family business – thus driving his brother to suicide – before subsequently marrying his widowed sister -in-law.

Lollobrigida is Maria, a nurse hired by the scheming nephew to care for the tycoon. Initially repulsed by the old man’s demeanour, Tony convinces Maria to persist in his employ, telling her that his uncle plans to bequeath his entire £50m fortune to charity. He will help her to marry him and have the will changed in her favour, all for a still miserly payoff of £1m. Suitably smitten, and upwardly aspirational, Maria is hooked.

Connery’s first million-dollar pay cheque, the experience would be somewhat soured by the media circus accompanying La Lollo’s every move. Demanding in the extreme, the Scot was still reportedly mortified when a carefully rehearsed slap backfired, resulting in a split lip for his glamorous co-star. Observing her daily battles with director Basil Deardon, technicians on set may have been rather more gleeful about the actor’s gaff than the star himself.

Taken from Catherine Arley’s French novel, “La Femme de Paille,” it’s very post-Agatha Christie, with a scorpion’s-tail twist. Richardson is a marvellous cantankerous old lion, and La Lollo acquits herself well in the final prison cell scene, but the sexual chemistry never quite gels between the two central leads. Maria appears more content to strip to her underskirt in every bedroom scene and reflect contently on her impending good fortune, than ‘getting it on’ with Tony.

Connery himself, is resplendent in a series of Anthony Sinclair suits – a number of which would reappear in “Goldfinger,” whilst la Lollo’s wardrobe somewhat suffers by comparison.

It’s a trifle overlong, but the attractive locations compensate for the obvious plot flaws – “She’ll get £49m and he’ll be happy with £1m for helping her marry the old goat!” – and the movie would recover costs and move into profit inside of a year.

Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968)

Recommended reading

Imperial Gina: The Very Unauthorized Biography of Gina Lollobrigida (Luis A. Canales) 1992

La Lollo would publish her autobiography in 2008, but “Vissi d’Arte” is more a homage to her sculpting rather than her work in films, although the tome does include several breathtaking picture galleries.

This unauthorised biography is literally a fan’s personal recollection of her career upto 1990. Originally written in portugese, some of the translation work appears somewhat distracting, and of course the italian would complete several further movie projects after the period covered in the book.