22 April 2011

Marisa Allasio

Marisa Allasio (1936) was a glamorous starlet who appeared in nearly twenty pictures in the 1950’s. She was nicknamed ‘The Italian Jayne Mansfield’. In 1958 her career stopped abruptly when she married and became a countess.

Marisa Allasio
Italian postcard by Rotalcolor, nr. 1.

Marisa Allasio
Vintage postcard by Studio Sombor, nr. 213.

Marisa Allasio
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (UFA), Berlin-Tempelhof, nr. CK-174, nr. 300. Retail price: 30 Pfg. Photo: G.B. Poletto/UFA.

Miss Lido
Marisa Allasio was born Maria Luisa Lucia Allasio in Turin in 1936. She was the daughter of Federico Allasio, road contractor and goalkeeper of the Torino soccer team ánd coach of many Italian soccer teams, and his wife Lucia Rocchietti. At 14, she was crowned Miss Lido, winning her first and only beauty contest. When Italian magazines publish pin-up art of 'Miss Lido,' she is transferred to a public school. At 16, she made her film debut in a bit part in the melodrama Perdonami!/Forgive me (1952, Mario Costa) starring Raf Vallone and Antonella Lualdi. She talked her parents into enrolling her in Rome’s Academy of Dramatic Arts. The following years she appeared in Italian film productions like the soccer film Gli eroi della domenica/The Sunday Heroes (1953, Mario Camerini) starring Raf Vallone and Marcello Mastroianni, Cuore di mamma/Mother's Heart (1954, Luigi Capuano), and Ragazze d'oggi/Girls of Today (1955, Luigi Zampa). She also had an uncredited part in the international epic War and Peace (1956, King Vidor) based on the famous novel by Leo Tolstoy and starring Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Mel Ferrer.

Marisa Allasio
Vintage postcard by Studio Sombor, nr. 300.

Marisa Allasio
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, nr. 1354, 1960. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: Progress.

Marisa Allasio, Maurizio Arena
With Maurizio Arena. East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1355, 1960. Retail price: 0,20 DM. Photo: Progress.

Marisa Allasio
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag G.m.b.H., Minden/Westf., nr. 144. Photo: Titanus/Constantin.

Bikini Girl
Marisa Allasio had her breakthrough as Giovanna in the comedy Poveri ma belli/Poor But Beautiful (1956, Dino Risi) opposite Renato Salvatori, and the sequel Belle ma povere/Poor Girl, Pretty Girl (1957, Dino Risi). Her part wins her national notoriety when the Pope condemns posters advertising it as 'overly exciting.' The posters are seized by Italian police. Despite this scandal she became popular as ‘la ragazza bella’, with her amazing curves clad in a bikini. She appeared as the main attraction in comedies like Marisa la civetta/Marisa (1957, Mauro Bolognini) again with Renato Salvatori, Camping (1957, Franco Zeffirelli), Susanna tutta panna/Susanna, you whipped cream (1957, Steno), and Venezia, la luna e tu/Venice, the Moon and You (1958, Dino Risi) with Alberto Sordi. As a pin-up she became hugely popular. In 1957 she was on the cover of Modern Man Quarterly Fall 1957, and an international breakthrough seemed only a matter of time. She appeared in the German-Italian coproduction Nackt, wie Gott sie schuf/Naked Like God Created Her (1958, Hans Schott-Schöbinger), and the American-Italian Mario Lanza vehicle Seven Hills of Rome (1958, Roy Rowland). But that would be her final film. In 1958 she married Conte Pierfrancesco Calvi. Her husband is the 7th count of Bèrgolo, Head of the Calvi di Bèrgolo Family, since 1977. His mother was a daughter of H.R.M. Vittorio Emanuele III, King of Italy, King of Albania and Emperor of Ethiopia, and H.R.H. Elena Petrovich-Njegosch, Princess of Montenegro. He was 27; she was 22. The private ceremony was attended by only two other persons. Both families were reported opposed to the marriage. Today the count and his wife are still married and have two children, Carlo Georgio (1959), and Anda Federica, 'Yolanda' (1962). The Italian New Wave group Diaframma dedicated a song to her, called Marisa Allasio. It’s on their album 3 Volte Lacrime (1986).

Scene from Poveri ma belli/Poor But Beautiful (1956) (Italian). Source: Ugantanu (YouTube).

Mario Lanza sings The Seven Hills Of Rome to Marisa Allasio. Music by Victor Young. Source: Balletamie (YouTube).

Sources: Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Wikipedia and IMDb.

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