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16 November 2015

Claudia Cardinale, Part 1

Italian actress Claudia Cardinale (1938) is one of Europe's iconic and most versatile film stars. The combination of her beauty, dark, flashing eyes, explosive sexuality and genuine acting talent virtually guaranteed her stardom. Her most notable films include the classics (Federico Fellini, 1963), Il Gattopardo (Luchino Visconti, 1963), and Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968). Cardinale's film career is a major one and there are too many great postcards of her for just one post. So tomorrow follows Part 2.

Claudia Cardinale
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/164. Photo: Georg Michalke / UFA.

Claudia Cardinale
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/132. Photo: Sam Levin / Ufa.

Claudia Cardinale
French postcard by E.D.U.G., no. 243, offered by Les Carbones Korès Carboplane. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Claudia Cardinale
German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. H 72.

Claudia Cardinale
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/115.

The most beautiful Italian girl in Tunisia


Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale was born in La Goulette in Tunisia in 1938 (some sources claim 1939). Her mother, Yolande Greco, was born in Tunisia to Italian (Sicilian) emigrants from Trapani, Italy. Her father was an Italian (Sicilian) railway worker, born in Gela, Italy.

Her native languages were Tunisian Arabic and French. She received a French education and she had to learn Italian once she pursued her acting career.

She had her break in films after she was voted the most beautiful Italian girl in Tunisia in 1957. The contest of the Italian embassy had as a prize a trip to the Venice Film Festival. She made her film debut in the French-Tunisian coproduction Goha (Jacques Baratier, 1958) starring Omar Sharif.

After attending the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome for two months, she signed a 7-year contract with the Vides studios. The contract forbade her to cut her hair, to marry or to gain weight.

Later that year she had a role in the heist comedy I soliti ignoti/Big Deal On Madonna Street (Mario Monicelli, 1958) with Vittorio Gassman and Renato Salvatori. The film was an international success, and her film career was off and running.

Claudia Cardinale
French postcard by Editions P.I., no. FK 104. Photo: Herbert Fried / Ufa.

Claudia Cardinale
German postcard by Kolibri (W. Sander Verlag, Minden), no. 1865.

Claudia Cardinale
German postcard by Kolibri (W. Sander Verlag, Minden), no. 1968.

Claudia Cardinale
Dutch postcard.

Claudia Cardinale
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, French licency holder for Ufa, presented by Les Carbones Korès 'Carboplane', no. FK 99 B Photo: Gérard Décaux / Ufa.

After BB Comes CC


At this point, the press, noting her initials, announced that CC was the natural successor to BB (Brigitte Bardot), and began beating the drum on her behalf.

Dozens of alluring photographs of Claudia Cardinale were displayed in newspapers and magazines throughout the world. According to IMDb, she has appeared on more than 900 magazine covers in over 25 countries.

The contrast between these pictures and those of Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield is striking. Cardinale never appeared in a nude or fully topless scene. Her pictures promoted an image of a shy family girl who just happened to have a beautiful face and a sexy body.

A photograph of Cardinale was featured in the original gate fold artwork to Bob Dylan's album Blonde on Blonde (1966), but because it was used without Cardinale's permission, the photo was removed from the cover art in later pressings.

Claudia Cardinale, Yvonne Monlaur and Francoise Darnell in Tre straniere a Roma (1958)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, no. 1187, 1960. Publicity still for Tre straniere a Roma/Three Strangers in Rome (Claudio Gora, 1958) with Yvonne Monlaur and Francoise Darnell.

Claudia Cardinale and Leonardo Botta in Tre straniere a Roma (1958)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb. Publicity still for Tre straniere a Roma/Three Strangers in Rome (Claudio Gora, 1958) with Leonardo Botta.

Claudia Cardinale
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2569, 1965.

Claudia Cardinale
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2388, 1965.

Claudia Cardinale
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2268, 1965.

Claudia Cardinale
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Filmvertrieb, Berlin, no. 2949, 1967.

Manager-Producer-Husband


Claudia Cardinale's early career was largely managed producer Franco Cristaldi. Because of her film contract, she told everyone that her son Patrizio (who was born out of wedlock when she was 17; the father was a mysterious Frenchman) was her baby brother. She did not reveal to the child that he was her son until he was 19 years old. In 1966, she married Cristaldi, who adopted Patrizio.

In only three years she made a stream of great films. First she made three successful comedies, Un Maledetto imbroglio/The Facts of Murder (Pietro Germi, 1959), Il Bell'Antonio/Bell'Antonio (Mauro Bolognini, 1960) featuring Marcello Mastroianni, and Audace colpo dei soliti ignoti/Fiasco in Milan (Nanni Loy, 1960).

Then followed a supporting part in the epic drama Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960) in which she played the sister-in-law of Alain Delon and Renato Salvatori

And then followed leading parts in La Ragazza con la valigia/Girl with a Suitcase (Valerio Zurlini, 1961), La Viaccia/The Lovemakers (Mauro Bolognini, 1961) with Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Senilità/Careless (Mauro Bolognini, 1961).

Claudia Cardinale
German postcard by Krüger.

Claudia Cardinale
French postcard.

Claudia Cardinale
German postcard by ISV, Sort. 10/6.

Claudia Cardinale
Dutch postcard, Serie 6.

Claudia Cardinale
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1084, offered by Corvisart, Epinal. Photo: Ektachrome Anders.

Claudia Cardinale
Spanish postcard by Postal Oscar Color, Hospitalet (Barcelona), no. 521, 1963.

Deep voice and heavy accent


Claudia Cardinale had a deep, sultry voice and spoke Italian with a heavy French accent, so her voice was dubbed in her early films.

In Federico Fellini's (1963), she was finally allowed to dub her own dialogue. In the film, she plays a dream woman - a character named Claudia, who is the object of the fantasies of the director in the film, played by Marcello Mastroianni. With Fellini's surrealistic masterpiece she received her widest exposure to date with this film.

That same year, she also appeared in another masterpiece of the Italian cinema, the epic Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963) with Burt Lancaster and Alain Delon.

The combined success of these two classic films made her rise to the front ranks of the Italian cinema, and it also piqued Hollywood's interest.

To be continued tomorrow.

Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale in Otto e Mezzo (1963)
French postcard by Edition La Malibran, Paris, no. MC 38, 1990. Photo: Claude Schwartz. Publicity still for Otto e Mezzo/8½ (Federico Fellini, 1963) with Marcello Mastroianni.


merican trailer for I soliti ignoti/Big Deal On Madonna Street (1958). Source: Criterion Dungeon (YouTube).


Original Italian trailer of (1963). Source: Raúl Quintanilla (YouTube).


Original Italian trailer of Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (1963). Source: Blondinka Inoz (YouTube).

Sources: Jason Ankeny (AllMovie), Roger Fristoe (TCM), IMDb and Wikipedia.

2 comments:

psychedelicsister said...

I love her.
She was so beautiful and a healthy figure.

Bob of Holland said...

Actually, I have met her a few years ago in Rome at the opening night of a film retropsective in a film theatre near the Trevi Fountain. Believe me, she is still beautiful, glamorous and very charming. And that smoky voice of her... Wow. Viva Claudia!