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09 October 2011

Gina Lollobrigida

Italian actress and photojournalist Gina Lollobrigida (1927) was one of Europe’s most prominent film stars of the 1950’s. ‘La Lollo’ was the first European sex symbol of the post war years and she paved the way into Hollywood for her younger colleagues Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale and Monica Bellucci.

Gina Lollobrigida
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 55.

Gina Lollobrigida
I.F.P.A. Postcard, no. 15.

Gina Lollobrigida
German postcard by Ufa, no. CK 67. Photo: Raymond Vainquel.

Gina Lollobrigida
Italian postcard by Rotalcolor, no. 17.

Luigina
Luigina Lollobrigida was born in the picturesque mountain village Subiaco in 1927, as one of four daughters of a furniture manufacturer. At the age of 3, Luigina was already selected as the most beautiful toddler of Italy and in her youth she started to model. She became an art student and made her film debut in an uncredited bit role in the adventure film Aquila nera/The Black Eagle Returns (1946, Riccardo Freda) starring Rossano Brazzi. In 1947, she entered the Miss Italia pageant and came in third. The contest was won by Lucia Bosé and second was Gianna Maria Canale - both also became film actresses, though not nearly as successful as Lollobrigida.

Gina Lollobrigida
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 29 F. Offered by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Gina Lollobrigida
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 29 F. Offered by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Happy birthday, Gina Lollobrigida!
French postcard by Editions du Globe (E.D.U.G.), Paris, no. 360. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Gina Lollobrigida
French postcard by Editions du Globe, Paris, no. 325. Photo: Sam Lévin. Publicity still for Les belles de nuit/Beauties of the Night (1952, René Clair).

Fotoromanzi
Gina Lollobrigida was discovered by director Mario Costa who gave her a small part as a girlfriend of Adina (Nelly Corradi) in the opera adaptation L’elisir d’amore/Elixir of Love (1946, Mario Costa). She started to model as Diana Loris for the fotoromanzi, the popular Italian photo novels. She got her first bigger film part in another opera film, Pagliacci/Love of a Clown - Pagliacci (1948, Mario Costa), co-starring with one of the greatest Italian baritones, Tito Gobbi. The film, based on Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci recounts the tragedy of Canio (Afro Poli), the lead clown (or pagliaccio in Italian) in a commedia dell'arte troupe, his wife Nedda (Lollobrigida), and her lover, Silvio (Gobbi). When Nedda spurns the advances of Tonio (also Gobbi), another player in the troupe, he tells Canio about Nedda's betrayal. In a jealous rage Canio murders both Nedda and Silvio. Lollobrigida's singing in this film was dubbed.

Gina Lollobrigida
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg, no. 354. Photo: Herbert Fried/Ufa for Notre Dame de Paris (1956).

Gina Lollobrigida
Italian postcard by R.D.V., Milano, no. 101.

Gina Lollobrigida
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 3548. Photo: NV Standaardfilms.

Gina Lollobrigida
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 646. Photo: Piaz, Paris.

Miss Italia
Gina Lollobtrigida's first major success as a leading lady was in Miss Italia/My Beautiful Daughter (1950, Duilio Coletti), a backstage drama set at a beauty contest. It was followed by the delightful comedy Vita da cani/A Dog's Life (1950, Mario Monicelli, Steno) with Aldo Fabrizi, and the award winning crime drama La città si difende/Four Ways Out (1951, Pietro Germi), based on a script by Federico Fellini. In France she co-starred with Gérard Philipe in the hugely entertaining melange of swash-buckling adventure, comedy and romance Fanfan la Tulipe/Fan-Fan the Tulip (1952, Christian Jacque) and in Les Belles de Nuit/Beauties of the Night (1952, René Clair). James Travers at Films de France simply loves this outlandish romantic fantasy: "As French matinee idol Gérard Philipe is propelled through history and cardboard Freudian dreamscapes, into the arms of such beauties as Martine Carol and Gina Lollobrigida, (director René) Clair appears to have all but lost his tenuous grip on reality (the scene with the dinosaur confirms it) - but who cares? This is a film which, like Clair’s earlier comic masterpieces, is intended to distract and entertain, and it does that marvellously and unashamedly."

Gina Lollobrigida
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 10.

Gina Lollobrigida
German postcard by ISV, no. B 28. Photo: MGM.

Gina Lollobrigida
Photo: MGM.

Gina Lollobrigida
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK-183. Photo: Klaus Collignon/Ufa.

Tossed Salad
Gina Lollobrigida had her definitive breakthrough with the huge global hit Pane, amore e fantasia/Bread, Love and Dreams (1953, Luigi Comencini), in which she starred with Vittorio De Sica. This romantic comedy was nominated in the U.S. for an Oscar, and Lollobrigida herself received in Great Britain a nomination at BAFTA. The success led to three sequels, including Pane, amore e gelosia/Bread, Love and Jealousy (1954, Luigi Comencini). Her first American film was Beat the Devil (1953, John Huston). She was at her best as Humphrey Bogart's wife in this odd but endearing noiresque comedy. Next she earned her nickname ‘The World's Most Beautiful Woman’ for her signature film La donna più bella del mondo (1956, Robert Z. Leonard), in which she played the legendary actress Lina Cavalieri. For her role in this film she received the first David di Donatello for Best Actress. Her earthy looks and short 'tossed salad' hairdo were quite influential, and in fact there's a type of curly lettuce named 'Lollo' in honor of her cute hairdo. (In France 'Lollo's' were a nickname for breasts).

Gina Lollobrigida
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft, Berlin -Tempelhof (Ufa), no. CK-157. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: Camerapress.

Gina Lollobrigida
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/135. Photo: Universal/Ufa.

Gina Lollobrigida, Rock Hudson
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/129. Photo: Terb Agency/UFA.

Gina Lollobrigida - 4.000.000 views
Vintage postcard.

Esmeralda
Gina Lollobrigida made another Hollywood appearance in the circus melodrama Trapeze (1956, Carol Reed) between Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. Next she starred as Esmeralda in Notre Dame de Paris/The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956, Jean Delannoy) opposite Anthony Quinn as Quasimodo. In 1959 she lured Yul Brynner in the Biblical epic Solomon and Sheba (1959, King Vidor). One of her most popular Hollywood films was Come September (1961, Robert Mulligan), in which she played the never-contented mistress of Rock Hudson. For this lightweight comedy she won the Golden Globe as 'World Film Favorite'. She co-starred again with Hudson in Strange Bedfellows (1965, Melvin Frank) and in 1968 she starred in the enjoyable screwball comedy Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968, Melvin Frank), for which she was again nominated for a Golden Globe and won a David di Donatello award, the Italian Oscar.

Gina Lollobrigida
German postcard by Ufa, no. F 187. Photo: MGM.

Gina Lollobrigida
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 4780. Photo: MGM.

Gina Lollobrigida
Dutch postcard by Uitg. Takken, Utrecht, no. 5033.

Gina Lollobrigida
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/56. Photo: Farabola.

Fidel Castro
On TV, Gina Lollobrigida was seen in the mini series Le Avventure di Pinocchio/The Adventures of Pinocchio (1972, Luigi Comencini). She retired from acting in the mid-1970’s, but has occasionally returned for the camera, includingh in a regular role in the American soap opera Falcon Crest (1984). She has used her celebrity to sell cosmetics, published two books of her photography, Italia Mia (1973; My Italy) and Wonder of Innocence (1994), and created sculptures. In the mid-1970’s she wrote, directed and produced Ritratto di Fidel/Portrait of Fidel, a very personal 50-minute documentary about Fidel Castro that included a rare interview with the Cuban dictator, fueling persistent rumors that a romance was sparked. In 1986, she was the head of jury at the Berlin International Film Festival, and in 1999 she ran for a seat in the European Union Parliament, stressing humanitarian issues, but she lost the election. Now virtually retired, Gina Lollobrigida has not made a film appearance since XXL (1997, Ariel Zeitoun) with Gérard Depardieu. Gina Lollobrigida was married once, to Slovenian physician Milko Skofic, in 1949. Skofic gave up his practice to become her manager. They had one child, Milko Skofic, Jr., born in 1957, and the couple divorced in 1971. Next to her Golden Globe, Lollobrigida has won 6 David di Donatello, 2 Nastro d'Argento, and 6 Bambi Awards. In 1985 she was nominated as an officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang for her achievements in sculpture and in photography. In 1992 she was awarded the Légion d'Honneur by president François Mitterrand. And in 1993 her grandson Dimitri was born.


Segment from Pane, amore e fantasia (1953). Source: Corsaro Azzuro (YouTube).


Segment from Notre Dame de Paris (1956). Source: HugosNotreDame (YouTube).


Gina Lollobrigida with Vittorio Gassman in a segment from La Donna Più Bella Del Mondo (1956). Source: K6MFW (YouTube).

Sources: James Travers (Film de France), NNDB, Andrea LeVasseur (Rovi), kd haisch (IMDb), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

lollobrigida is unreapitable,a real artist.No poor loren can stand near by her.Only in Italy some people think loren is every thing.

Anonymous said...

just so,in Italy some people think and just say,specialy in tv,that loren is the best woman Italy have ever had.In Italy there are stupid persons and a very ignorant and not so nice lady,mrs.sofia loren.Ah I forget to say that the best is ,of course ,la lollo.

Anonymous said...

with marilyn and brigitte the best one.

Anonymous said...

not one of the most popular star,but simply the most popular star in europe with,behind,bardot and loren.She has been the same that in usa was marilyn.

Anonymous said...

lollobrigida is italy in the world.loren is just a bluff,even if in italy they say she is bravissima...bellissima...etc..etc...She leaves some De Sica's films and nothing else.Not so much,dear italian stupid critics and false intellecyuals.