23 July 2012

Mireille Granelli

Little known French actress Mireille Granelli (? - ?) played in both French and Italian films of the 1950’s and the 1960’s.

 Mireille Granelli
French postcard by St. Anne, Marseille. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Moving Between French and Italian Filmsets
Mireille Granelli was born in Paris, France, but that's all the information we could find about her private life. She made her film debut in a small part as one of the aspiring starlets in Futures vedettes/Joy of Living (1955, Marc Allégret) starring Jean Marais and the ultimate starlet Brigitte Bardot. Her next part was in an Italian film, Noi siamo le colonne/We are the columns (1956, Luigi Filippo D'Amico) starring Vittorio De Sica. In the following decade she would continue to move between French and Italian film sets. In France, she played supporting parts in the comedy-drama Pardonnez nos offenses/Forgive us our trespasses (1956, Robert Hossein) starring Marina Vlady, and the comedy Les truands/Lock Up Your Spoons (1957, Carlo Rim) with two-fisted action star Eddie Constantine. In Italy she had the title role in Beatrice Cenci/Castle of the Banned Lovers (1956, Riccardo Freda) as the daughter of Micheline Presle and Gino Cervi. Often, these films were European co-productions. Slowly her parts became bigger and in the comedy Croquemitoufle (1959, Claude Barma), she played the female lead opposite singer Gilbert Bécaud. Eleanor Mannikka at AllMovie: “This lively comedy by Claude Barma is well-acted and original enough to charm most audiences. The story revolves around a man who finds out that his friend's wife has left him. He decides to go out looking for her but there is only one slight problem - he has never met her and so he does not know what she looks like. Naturally, his quest leads him up several blind alleys, one of which has a lovely woman - is she the wife or is she not?” Besides her work in the cinema, she also appeared on stage. In 1960, she played with Marie Bell in the first production of Jean Genet's famous play Le Balcon (The Balcony), directed by Peter Brook.

 Mireille Granelli
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1020. Photo: Sam Lévin.
 Mireille Granelli
French postcard by Editions du Globe (EDUG), Paris, no. 858. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Love Interest in Peplums
During the 1960’s, Mireille Granelli mostly worked in Italy. She appeared in the war comedy Il federale/The Fascist (1961, Luciano Salce) in which dedicated fascist Ugo Tognazzi is sent to capture anti-Mussolini professor Georges Wilson in 1944 Italy. The beautiful blonde also appeared as love interest in two peplums, Ursus nella terra di fuoco/Ursus in the Land of Fire (1963, Giorgio Simonelli) starring American muscleman Ed Fury, and Ursus, il terrore dei kirghisi/Hercules and the Captive Women (1964, Antonio Margheriti a.k.a. Anthony Dawson) featuring the British bodybuilder Reg Parks. About the latter, Sandra Brennan notes at AllMovie: “Bulging muscles abound in this Italian sword and sandal adventure. Originally, the hero was Ursus, but distributors changed it to Hercules when they redubbed it in English and brought it to the States. This time Hercules must take on a powerful witch and her army of spellbound werewolves.” The following year Granelli was one of the beautiful women in the Eurospyfilm Mission spéciale à Caracas/Mission to Caracas (1965, Raoul André). Her final film premiered three years later, Quanto costa morire/Cost of Dying (1968, Sergio Merolle). In this spaghetti western, starring John Ireland and Raymond Pellegrin, she only had a minor supporting part.

 Mireille Granelli
Big French postcard. Photo: Sam Lévin.

 Mireille Granelli
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no.65. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Trailer for Ursus, il terrore dei kirghisi/Hercules and the Captive Women (1964). Source: Peplumz (YouTube).

Sources: Eleanor Mannikka (AllMovie), Sandra Brennan (AllMovie), Wikipedia (French), and IMDb.

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