She always wanted people to think of her as sizzling hot.
You don't see many photos like these. They were published in Playboy Italy in 1980, and feature Italian actress Maria Rosaria Omaggio, who appeared in such films as Roma a mano armata, aka The Tough Ones, and Squadra antiscippo, aka The Cop in Blue Jeans. These images are yet more imaginativeness from famed photographer Angelo Frontoni. This time he took his cue from Omaggio when she said she collected writings on witches and the occult. Playboy shared an example: The candelabrum: go at night to the place reputed to hide a treasure, carefully watching the oscillations of the flame. When the flame goes out, it will be a sign that you have the coveted treasure under your feet. Groovy.
The text goes on to note that during the Italian Renaissance, and later during the Counter-Reformation, contraception, birth control, and infertility came to be defined as witchcraft. So the eclectic Frontoni, in collaboration with Omaggio, took all that info onboard came up with this immolative concept. Don't forget, this was during an era when photographers and models generally saw nudity as an expression of freedom and power. In other words, Frontoni and Omaggio, by using nude-witch-at-the-stake imagery, were saying, “Strip away all the excuses and this is what many men really hate and fear most: women.” Heavy handed? Maybe. But very much on target, we think.
There are very few limits to how fur she'll go for fashion.
This shot of Italian actress Femi Benussi made by prolific lensman Angelo Frontoni is from a 1977 issue of Ciné-Revue, and shows her wrapped (sort of) in a fur vest, probably made of skunk, which was a trendy choice for coats at the time. Benussi appeared in more than eighty films, among them Tarzana sesso selvaggio and Nude per l'assassino, aka Strip Nude for Your Killer. At some point she became a fixture in commedie sexy all'italiane, a sub-genre of goofy titillation flicks, with humor so sophomoric you'll beg for mercy. Well, you don't have to beg to see Benussi back on Pulp Intl. There are a few more movies of hers we'd like to check out, so she'll return.
I'm not devious or Machiavellian in the least. But a Machiavellian person would say that, wouldn't they?
Fifteenth century philosopher and diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli popularized the belief that powerful men—and particularly politicians—are often amoral, and perhaps should be that way, an idea that gave rise to the term Machiavellian. Amazingly, some of his genes funneled down the centuries directly into the person you see above, Italian actress Nicoletta Machiavelli. She earned—or deviously maneuvered—her way into more than thirty films, including Se tutte le donne del mondo... (Operazione Paradiso), aka Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die, Matchless, Navajo Joe, and Les seins de glace, aka Someone Is Bleeding.
The photo was shot by Angelo Frontoni, and comes from 1965. Below you see a couple of unretouched alternate frames Frontoni made during the same session, but with Machiavelli showing an impressive treasure trail. Will those ever come back, you think? No? Well, they should. About her famous ancestor Machiavelli once said that she was proud to be his descendant, and quipped that she was, “Machiavellian in the cradle.” She also claimed that to her, at least, the term didn't mean to behave deviously or sociopathically at all. But then she would say that.
Whatever the background color she was always red hot.
Above are three images of Tunisian born Italian actress Claudia Cardinale made by Italian photographer Angelo Frontoni. It's difficult to imagine European cinema without Frontoni. He photographed everyone, and he blurred the line between mainstream photography and erotica by collaborating with magazines like Excelsior and Playmen. Cardinale is pretty racy here by her standards. She worked with Frontoni many times over the course of her career, which began during the late 1950s and continues today, encompassing such films as 8½, The Pink Panther, Blindfold, Les pétroleuses, Fitzcarraldo, Once Upon a Time in the West, et al. These shots don't have a copyright date that we could find, but based on appearance we'd say they're from the late 1970s.
Gladiatorial combat is all fun and games until the gladiators decide you're the one who needs killing.
We've featured master fantasy artist Frank Frazetta a few times, so it seems only fair that we feature the yang to his yin, Peruvian born legend Boris Vallejo. Here you see his art on a promo poster for Naked Warriors, which is better known as The Arena, released this month in 1974 starring another legend, Pam Grier, along with occasional co-star, the lovely Margaret Markov. We've talked about the movie twice, shared its Italian and U.S. promo art, and shared rare promo images of Grier once or twice, or maybe even three or four times, as well as a beautiful centerfold of Markov. All of that imagery is worth a look. Vallejo's art is a nice fit for a tale of enslaved gladiators pitted against each other eventually defying their sadistic masters to fight for freedom. He painted when Corcorde Pictures acquired the rights to the film from MGM/UA for a VHS release in 1988. Concorde/New World was formed and run by schlockmeister Roger Corman, and that explains the black wedges at the top and bottom of the promo. When you do thingson the cheap as a matter of course like Corman did, tilting the art in an inelegant way to make the two figures fit a door panel format seems logical. We can imagine him: “Just lean the fucker left. Who cares about the blank spots?” And indeed, who does, really?
In addition to a great piece of art, as a bonus we've also uploaded some Arena production photos we found scattered around the internet over the years. Most of them were shot by Italian lensman Angelo Frontoni, whose work we've admired often. As it is a lusty sort of movie, some of the shots are a bit lusty too. We had these sitting about and didn't have a real good excuse to share them until today, so from the good old days of ’70s sexploitation behold: Grier, Markov, Lucretia Love, Maria Pia Conte, Rosalba Neri, and others in barely-there gladiatorial gear—and sometimes less. We can't say the film is perfect, but it's definitely worth a watch.
Patrizia Gori shares her holy place.
We talked about Italian actress Patrizia Gori's awesome-but-not-really movie Nathalie: Escape from Hell back in June, and for no reason at all today seems like a good day to bring her back. The above photo of her giving Italian photographer Angelo Frontoni (and the rest of the world) a flash of what's under her raincoat was made in 1979.
Just about five feet ten a-from her head to the ground.
These two shots by famed Italian photographer Angelo Frontoni show dancer and actress Gloria Paul, who was born in London but was of Italian extraction and spent most of her career in Italy. She worked steadily beginning in 1961, and appeared in such films as The Intelligence Men, For a Few Dollars Less, and Darling Lili. In 1996 she was the victim of an accident in which a water tank in her home fell through the roof of her shower and broke her back. After time in a wheelchair she eventually regained the ability to walk, but her dancing career was over.
Sommer time is always the right time.
Above is German actress Elke Sommer, looking her stunning best in two scans from Belgium’s Ciné-Revue that we stumbled across in an online forum. The issue was published forty years ago today, during a period when the magazine was upping its skin quotient. In this case, they wisely chose photos by Angelo Frontoni, who was one of the foremost glamour photographers of the day. Ciné-Revue still exists, more or less, as Ciné-Télé-Revue. We’ve been meaning to do an entire feature on the publication, because it has a tangled history we haven’t quite puzzled out yet. It definitely began in Belgium during the mid-1940s, but also published in France for a time. Also, there was another Ciné-Revue published in France back in the 1920s, but we aren’t sure if it has the same provenance as the one above. We’ll figure all that out later, now that these great images have reminded us to do so.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1941—Williams Bats .406
Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox finishes the Major League Baseball season with a batting average of .406. He is the last player to bat .400 or better in a season.
1964—Warren Commission Issues Report
The Warren Commission, which had been convened to examine the circumstances of John F. Kennedy's assassination, releases its final report, which concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed Kennedy. Today, up to 81% of Americans are troubled
by the official account of the assassination.
1934—Queen Mary Launched
The RMS Queen Mary, three-and-a-half years in the making, launches from Clydebank, Scotland. The steamship enters passenger service in May 1936 and sails the North Atlantic Ocean until 1967. Today she is a museum and tourist attraction anchored in Long Beach, U.S.A.
1983—Nuclear Holocaust Averted
Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov, whose job involves detection of enemy missiles, is warned by Soviet computers that the United States has launched a nuclear missile at Russia. Petrov deviates from procedure, and, instead of informing superiors, decides the detection is a glitch. When the computer warns of four more inbound missiles he decides, under much greater pressure this time, that the detections are also false. Soviet doctrine at the time dictates an immediate and full retaliatory strike, so Petrov's decision to leave his superiors out of the loop very possibly prevents humanity's obliteration. Petrov's actions remain a secret until 1988, but ultimately he is honored at the United Nations.
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