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28 December 2011

Rosanna Schiaffino

Glamorous, Italian film actress Rosanna Schiaffino (1938-2009) was a show business icon of the 1960’s. She appeared frequently in sword-and-sandal films, and on covers of European and American magazines.

Rosanna Schiaffino
German postcard by Ufa, nr. CK 421. Photo: Georg Michalke.

Rosanna Schiaffino
German postcard by Krüger, nr. 902/59.

Rosanna Schiaffino
German postcard by Krüger.

Rosanna Schiaffino
German postcard by Kruger, nr. 902/114. Photo: Farabola.

Rosanna Schiaffino
Rumanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin.

Sacrificial Virgin and Evil Princess
Rosa Anna Schiaffino was born in Genoa, Liguria, to a non-show business family. When she was 14 she won the Miss Liguria beauty contest. The resulting photographs aroused the interest of film producers. Without her father's blessing but chaperoned by her mother and sister, Rosanna traveled to Rome for a screen test. From 1956 onward, she was seen in earthy, sexy roles like in the Totò comedy Totò, lascia o raddoppia? (1956, Camillo Mastrocinque), and the drama La Sfida/The Challenge (1958, Francesco Rosi). She was famous for her eye-catching legs, and her temperamental performance. Her photographs graced covers of magazines in countries where her minor films were not even being released. So she started with playing small parts, but by the end of the 1950’s she had become a leading lady in Italian and French films, and later also in British and Hollywood productions. In 1959 Schiaffino put her career in a higher gear with La Notte Brava/Bad Girls Don't Cry (1959, Mauro Bolognini), an enjoyable tale of young people in an urban slum. The cast was full of attractive starlets like Elsa Martinelli, Mylène Demongeot, Antonella Lualdi, and Rosanna, showing her sexy legs on high heels. Though not an actress of any great depth, she managed to land the dual role of the sacrificial virgin Ariadne and the evil princess Phaedra in Teseo Contro Il Minotauro/The Minotaur (1961, Silvio Amadio). This sword-and-sandal epic meant her international breakthrough. Till the mid 1960’s she was busy on the international scene.

Rosanna Schiaffino
German postcard by Kolibri/Friedrich W. Sander-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 1699.

Rosanna Schiaffino
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 1789. Photo: Arthur Grimm/CCC/Gloria.

Rosanna Schiaffino
German postcard by Kolibri/Friedrich W. Sander-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 2563.

Rosanna Schiaffino
German postcard by Kolibri/Friedrich W. Sander-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 1622.

Rosanna Schiaffino
Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, no. 941.

Form-fitting Period Garb
Rosanna Schiaffino was a pleasing appearance in contemporary costumes in English language films like Two Weeks in Another Town (1962, Vincente Minnelli) as a very temperamental film star, and in the war drama The Victors (1963, Carl Foreman). She was even more fun to watch in her form-fitting period garb as the mistress of villainous Moroccan chieftain Sidney Poitier in The Long Ships (1964, Jack Cardiff). She also worked in Italian films like La Corruzione/Corruption (1963, Mauro Bolognini), the episode film Ro.Go.Pa.G./Let’s Have a Brainwash (1963, Roberto Rossellini), Sette contro la morte/The Cavern (1964, Edgar G. Ulmer), the amusing costume comedy La Mandragola/The Mandrake (1965, Alberto Lattuada), La Strega in amore/The Witch in Love (1966, Damiano Damiani), and the biopic Simón Bolívar (1969, Alessandro Blasetti) opposite Maximilian Schell. Despite the increase of nudity in films at the end of the 1960’s, Schiaffino refused to appear in such scenes. In the 1970’s she played leading parts in comedies, spaghetti westerns and thrillers by minor directors that have all been forgotten. Obviously her career petered out. Rosanna Schiaffino was married twice. In 1977 she divorced Alfredo Bini, and married Giorgio Falck. That year Rosanna Schiaffino ended her film career, and dropped from public view. She and Falck had a son, Guido, but later they divorced. Rosanna Schiaffino died in Milan, Italy in 2009. She was 69.


Trailer of The Man Called Noon (1973). Source: Supermessala (YouTube).

Sources: Wikipedia, Rovi, and IMDb.

1 comment:

Bob of Holland said...

Rosanna Schiaffino died of cancer after a grueling, long illness on 17 October 2009, aged 69.