Viva La Diva! Sophia Loren: Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow?

 

Sophia Loren, Italian actress, beauty icon and Neapolitan fashionista is 78 today.  Recipient of many awards, including an Academy Award for de Sica’s Two Women, Loren avoided being pigeonholed by Hollywood, managing an image that was both sexy and classy in a time when Audrey Hepburn was the ideal and curves were deemed trashy. She was at ease playing the lusty peasant girl or the arrogant heiress, the raped mother or the devout wife. And, of course, she has those sultry feline eyes, that toothy grin and that figure…

 

***Recommended Filmography:***

 

The Millionairess (1960)

– Directed by Anthony Asquith (Pygmalion, Importance of Being Earnest, Winslow Boy), co-starring Peter Sellers and Alastair Sim.

Doctor, I’m in trouble. (Well, goodness gracious me).

British romantic comedy about an Indian doctor (Sellers) who meets an arrogant millionairess (Loren). Memorable supporting performances from Alastair Sim and the great Italian director, Vittorio de Sica, as the proprietor of a pasta production sweatshop.

El Cid (1961)

– Directed by Anthony Mann (Winchester ’73, El Cid), co-starring Mr. Cold-Dead-Hands (Charlton Heston)

One of the all-time classic Hollywood epics, set in eleventh century Spain, tells the story of the legendary Spanish hero, Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar (known as El Cid – he who is courageous and merciful, by his followers) who swears to see his country at peace and free from invaders. Sophia Loren plays the noble knight’s nunnery bound wife, Chimene.

Trailer

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963)

– Directed by Vittorio de Sica (Bicycle Thieves), co-starring Marcello Mastroianni

Classic Italian battle-of-the-sexes comedy about three very different couples in different parts of Italy. Directed by one of the biggest names in Italian cinema, it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1964.

Trailer

Marriage Italian Style (1964)

– Directed by Vittorio de Sica, co-starring Marcello Mastroianni

A successful businessman has an on-off relationship with a young, naive country girl who works as a prostitute in Neapolitan brothel. The affair continues for years until he eventually agrees to live with her if he looks after his ailing mother. After some time, feigning life-threatening illness, she tricks him into marrying her…

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Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964)

– Directed by Anthony Mann, co-starring Alec Guinness, James Mason, Mel Ferrer, Omar Sharif and Christopher Plummer

Another Anthony Mann classic epic, this time chronicling a family saga that results in the fall of Rome. Despite being a financial failure at the box-office, this is a treat for any epic film-lover with all its swords n sandals glory and vast sets (the reconstruction of the Roman Forum still holds the record for the biggest indoor film set ever constructed. Thanks Wikipedia).

Trailer