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12 July 2017

Sandra Milo

Italian actress Sandra Milo (1933) is best known for her roles in Federico Fellini's (1963) and Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits (1965), but she also worked with the famous directors Antonio Pietrangeli and Roberto Rossellini. She won the Silver Ribbon Best Supporting Actress award for both and Juliet of the Spirits.

Sandra Milo
Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, no. 98.

Sandra Milo
Italian postcard by B.F.F. Edit., no. 3353. Photo: Cines.

Saucy comedies and steamy melodramas


Sandra Milo was born Elena Salvatrice Greco in Tunis, Tunisia in 1933.

She made her film debut alongside Alberto Sordi in Lo scapolo/The Bachelor (Antonio Pietrangeli, 1955). Milo mostly performed in saucy comedies and steamy melodramas.

Such films included Mio figlio Nerone/Nero's Mistress (Steno, 1956) with Alberto Sordi and Gloria Swanson, Les aventures d'Arsène Lupin/The Adventures of Arsène Lupin (Jacques Becker, 1957) with Robert Lamoureux, Le miroir à deux faces/The Mirror Has Two Faces (André Cayate, 1958) starring Michèle Morgan, and Totò nella luna/Toto in the Moon (Steno, 1958) with Totò and Sylva Koscina.

Gary Brumburgh at IMDb: “bosomy, scintillating, dark-haired Tunisian leading lady Sandra Milo played bored patricians, manipulative mistresses and other enticing ladies of questionable morals with typical sensuous flare.”

Her first major role came thanks to the producer Moris Ergas, in Il generale Della Rovere/General Della Rovere (1959), directed by Roberto Rossellini and featuring Vittorio De Sica. She starred opposite Lino Ventura in two French thrillers, Un témoin dans la ville/Witness in the City (Edouard Molinaro, 1959), and Classe tous risques/The Big Risk (Claude Sautet, 1960).

Antonio Pietrangeli directed her again in Adua e le compagne/Adua and Her Friends (1960), a comedy about four unemployed prostitutes who decide to go into business running a restaurant, and in Fantasmi a Roma/Ghosts of Rome (1961), both with Marcello Mastroianni.

She also appeared opposite Laurent Terzieff in Vanina Vanini (Roberto Rossellini, 1961), based on a short story by Stendhal. Rossellini's career was cut short after the film received harsh criticism at the Venice Festival. Milo married producer Moris Ergas with whom she had a daughter Deborah. After her marriage, she retired from her acting career.

Sandra Milo
Italian postcard by Turismofoto, no. 71.

Sandra Milo
Small Romanian collectors card, no. 12.

Sandra Milo
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 94.

A flesh and blood incarnation of Satan


Then Sandra Milo was discovered by Federico Fellini. Although she was reluctant to make a comeback, Fellini convinced Milo to take on the role of the sexy, lightheaded mistress opposite Marcello Mastroianni in (1963). won an Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, as well as the Grand Prize at the Moscow Film Festival, and was one of the most influential and commercially successful European art movies of the 1960s.

After this success, she reunited with director Antonio Pietrangeli for La visita/The Visit (1963) with François Périer.

Fellini then directed her opposite Giulietta Masina in Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits (Federico Fellini, 1965). She played Giulietta’s neighbour, Suzy, a highly, eccentric pleasure-seeker who lives in a sensual playhouse and who may or may not be a flesh and blood incarnation of Satan.

David Anderson in his review at Bunched Undies: "Federico Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits remains one of the esteemed director’s most fanciful and entertaining films; its sparkling joys untarnished by the passage of time. (...) Clearly, Juliet of the Spirits is one of Italy’s first feminist films from a modern perspective. While Fellini made several films with Masina - and in all of them she faces significant obstacles - this is the first to loudly proclaim that a woman doesn’t necessarily need a husband to find happiness and, in some cases, she may be better off without one. "

Most of Milo’s following endeavours however were second-rate films. She retired again from acting in 1968, only to make a second comeback in 1979. Her roles have shifted from that of the temptress to more stern middle-aged women. She appeared in Pupi Avati’s romantic drama Il Cuore Altrove/A Heart Elsewhere (2003) with Neri Marcoré and Giancarlo Giannini.

In 2006-2007 she toured Italy with the theatrical adaptation of 8 Femmes/8 Women. In second marriage, she married Ottavio De Lollis with whom she had two sons, Ciro and Azzurra. Sandra Milo's latest film is Il velo di Maya/The veil of Maya (Elisabetta Rocchetti, 2017).


DVD-trailer (1963). Source: Screenbound Pictures (YouTube).


Trailer Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits (1965). Source: Argent Films (YouTube).

Sources: David Anderson (Bunched Undies), Gary Brumburgh (IMDb), Hal Erickson (AllMovie), Wikipedia and IMDb.

1 comment:

Beth Niquette said...

What beautiful ladies! You've been missed, my Friend. I am back on track now--had a really rough six months. All is well now. :D Have a great week!