Saturday, April 19, 2014

Catherine Spaak:  The Year in Review - 1966

1966 Japanese Pinup

Catherine was featured on the cover of the January 28, 1966 edition of Life:


Mademigella di maupin opened well in Italy in January or February, prompting producer Silvio Clementelli to schedule another film with Catherine (what would become Non faccio la guerra, faccio l'amore, filmed in the Fall).
  • The February 16, 1966 Variety (with a February 8, Rome date-line), has an article, "Catherine Spaak's Next."  The article says:  "Success in Italo keys of latest Catherine Spaak starrer, 'Mademoiselle de Maupin,' produced by Silvio Clementelli for Jolly Films, has prompted Clementelli to a rapid followup.  Next on Miss Spaak's slate is 'La Sirena' (The Siren), to be directed by Franco Rossi, with Clementelli producing.  It likely will be via an Italo-Yank pre-production deal which the producer is currently mulling."
In early March, Catherine vacationed with Sabrina at a resort near Turin.  This press photo is dated March 3, 1966:


By April, Catherine had signed on for her first Hollywood film, Hotel, to be shot in New Orleans and on the Warner Brothers lot in Hollywood.  Catherine arrived in America in the last week of April, and filming began in New Orleans on May 10, with a week of location shooting there, before returning to the Warner Brothers lot for the remainder of the film, which was completed by late June.  Rex Reed came to New Orleans and interviewed Catherine for a profile called "I Am - How You Say? - A Smart Kid" that ran in the N.Y. Times on June 12, 1966.  Reed described Catherine as "Half kittycat go-go girl, half petulant defiance, she is like a sexy lollipop: soft hair the color of maple syrup, man's shirt rolled up to the elbows, lavender-yellow-black op art belt, fuschia-orange-black op art hip-huggers, Indian moccasins and a man's wrist watch." While in California, Catherine lived in a rental home in the hills overlooking L.A.  Catherine also posed for photographs with John Derek while there.  I have never seen any photos attributed to that session.  I wonder whether the modeling/glamour publicity photos used by Warner Brothers for Hotel were photos taken by Derek.  By the end of June, the film was complete, and Catherine returned to Rome with Non faccio la guerra, faccio l'amore as her next scheduled project.  There was at least one report that Warner Brothers had signed Catherine to do a film a year for five years.
  • The April 6, 1966 Variety reported that Catherine had signed for Hotel with Warner Brothers.
  • The April 11, 1966 Variety reported:  "[Hotel] rolls in mid-May, with sked calling for a week of New Orleans location lensing."
  • The April 22, 1966 Variety reported:  "Catherine Spaak due from Europe Monday to check into Warner Bros. 'Hotel.'"
  • The May 6, 1966 Variety reported:  "Rod Taylor and Catherine Spaak to New Orleans tomorrow to start location filming of Warners' 'Hotel.'"
  • Several issues of Variety reported that Hotel started filming on May 10.
  • The May 27, 1966 Variety reported:   "Catherine Spaak, at WB for 'Hotel,' says her next pic (Italian) translates as 'How To Make A Baby,' but undoubtedly gained something in the translation."
  • The June 3, 1966 Variety reported:  "Italo 'Baby' for Spaak - Catherine Spaak, currently working in 'Hotel' at Warners, yesterday was signed for 'Do You Know How to Make a Baby?' which Franco Rossi will direct in Rome and Yugoslavia."
  • The June 6, 1966 Variety reported:  "Dick Quine clipped off an entire day's 'Hotel' lensing in one take Friday - giving the company plenty of time to ready the lavish $300,000 hotel set for a bash which intro'd fourth estaters to New Orleans' treats such as - sazeracs...Other 'Hotel' treats on hand included co-star Catherine Spaak whom Quine hopes to also star in his next.  He describes her as a combination Audrey Hepburn and Virna Lisi.  Howzat for a combination?"
  • The June 9, 1966 Variety reported:  "John Derek lensed Catherine Spaak - not for Playboy as he did ex-wife Ursula Andress - but purely portrait."
  • I have seen a press photo associated with Hotel, dated June 11, 1966, which states in the caption that Catherine Spaak "has been signed by Warner Brothers for a film a year for five years."  I have not seen that reported anywhere else.
  • The June 22, 1966 Variety reported:  "Actress Catherine Spaak, niece of former Belgian premier Paul-Henri Spaak, claims she has ties with three different countries, so she played hostess on the set of Warners' 'Hotel' last week to the consuls-general of Belgium, France, and Italy."
  • The June 28, 1966 Variety reported:   "Catherine Spaak back to Rome after winding part in WB's 'Hotel,' to begin Italian pic, 'Do You Enow How To Make A Baby?'"
  • The July 6, 1966 Variety reported:   "Catherine Spaak returned to Rome after winding role in WB's 'Hotel.'" 
Here are some pictures of Catherine at her rental home in Los Angeles (from an article in the Spanish magazine Hola):




Here is part of an article about Catherine's work in America:


On a personal sidenote, it's interesting to me that my future favorite actress arrived in America to make her one and only Hollywood film during the week that I was born, and within days she started filming in the same region of the U.S. in which I was born.

Weekend at Dunkirk had its U.S. premiere in New York City on May 18, 1966.

Catherine's father, Charles Spaak remarried a much younger woman in August.  Catherine did not attend the wedding, but the excuse of being in Hollywood making a film doesn't seem to hold water, based on the reporting noted above.
  • The August 22, 1966 Variety reported on the marriage of Catherine's father:   "Vet screenwriter Charles Spaak, 63, married a non-pro Janine Couet, 28. His daughter, Catherine, 21, missed the wedding since she is in Hollywood making a film."
I'm not positive, but I think that this may be a picture of the happy couple:

 By the end of the summer, Catherine appeared at the Venice Film Festival, and she spent September and October working on Non faccio la guerra, faccio l'amore along the coast of Spain and in Yugoslavia.
  • The August 31, 1966 Variety reported that Catherine was among the roster of stars scheduled to appear at the Venice Film Festival.
  • The September 14, 1966 Variety reported:   "Catherine Spaak working on boat for Franco Rosi and his pic, 'I Make Love, Not War'."
  • The October 5, 1966 Variety reported:   "Catherine Spaak, Philipe Leroy to Yugoslavia for windup work on 'I Make Love, Not War'." 
  • The November 16, 1966 Variety reported:  Frank Wolff wound feature role in 'Make Love, Not War' opposite Catherine Spaak, hiked to Nice and Madrid locations for 'Please Don't Shoot the Cannon' with Rosella Como and Gerard Landry." 
Catherine was scheduled to appear in Dino Risi's Il tigre with Vittorio Gassman, but apparently that fell through for some reason.  The film was released in 1967 with Ann-Margret as the leading lady.  Perhaps she was considered a better draw for American audiences.
  • The October 24, 1966 Variety reported:  "Tiger' Role For Spaak. Catherine Spaak has been cast in 'The Tiger,' joining Vittorio Gassman in film to be directed by Dino Risi." 
The December 21, 1966 Variety reported on going rates for actors and directors in Italy.  Catherine was reported to command $100,000 per picture (compared to Virna Lisi and Claudia Cardinale at $300,000 and Gina Lollobrigida and Monica Vitti at $200,000).  Back in 1963, press reports speculated that Catherine was fetching $250,000 per film, so I don't know if that higher amount was just press smoke or whether Catherine's rate had dropped by 1966.  It does not seem likely that her rate would have dropped that much, considering how her films had been performing, so it would seem that the $250,000 figure may have been inflated.

At some point during 1966, Ricordi released Ieri/Vent'anni o poco piu as a single.  Ieri is Catherine's version of The Beatles' Yesterday.  Here are the only images that I have been able to find for that record:


I have not been able to find out the story behind this appearance, but here is a youtube clip of Catherine performing Vent'anni o poco piu on television in 1966:


Here are some pictures/clippings for which I do not have an exact date, but they appear to be from around 1966:





Japanese clippings/pinups from 1966:


An odd poster from 1966:


Japanese clippings that look to be from around 1966:


A Japanese clipping from 1967, but the picture looks to be from 1966:


Magazines from 1966:
















Friday, April 18, 2014

Non faccio la guerra, faccio l'amore (1966)

Italian One Panel Poster (courtesy of the archives at emovieposter.com)

Non faccio la guerra, faccio l'amore (known in English as Make Love, Not War), directed by Franco Rossi, is an Italian/Spanish co-production, produced by Silvio Clementelli and shot in the Fall of 1966 along Spain's seacoast and in Yugoslavia, after Catherine had returned from Hollywood and her work on Hotel.  Philippe Leroy headlined the cast with Catherine.  This was the second of four films in which the French actor appeared with Catherine (Le trou, La notte e fatta per...rubare, and La matriarca).
  • The September 14, 1966 Variety reported:   "Catherine Spaak working on boat for Franco Rossi and his pic, 'I Make Love, Not War'."
  • The October 5, 1966 Variety reported:   "Catherine Spaak, Philipe Leroy to Yugoslavia for windup work on 'I Make Love, Not War'."
  • The November 16, 1966 Variety reported:  "Frank Wolff wound feature role in 'Make Love, Not War' opposite Catherine Spaak, hiked to Nice and Madrid locations for 'Please Don't Shoot the Cannon' with Rosella Como and Gerard Landry."
  • The April 26, 1967 Variety reported:   "Spain's picturesque seacoast appeared in 'I Don't Make War, I Make Love,' Catherine Spaak-Phillipe Leroy starrer helmed by Franco Rossi."
The film appears to have had at least three different working titles:  La sirena (The Siren), Do You Know How to Make a Baby?, and The Mermaid.  Perhaps that is an indication that the film was a bit of an odd project.
  • The February 16, 1966 Variety reported:  "Next on Miss Spaak's slate is 'La Sirena' (The Siren), to be directed by Franco Rossi, with Clementelli producing.  It likely will be via an Italo-Yank pre-production deal which the producer is currently mulling."
  • The May 27, 1966 Variety reported:   "Catherine Spaak, at WB for "Hotel," says her next pic (Italian) translates as "How To Make A Baby," but undoubtedly gained something in the translation."
  • The June 3, 1966 Variety reported:  "Italo 'Baby' for Spaak - Catherine Spaak, currently working in 'Hotel' at Warners, yesterday was signed for 'Do You Know How to Make a Baby?' which Franco Rossi will direct in Rome and Yugoslavia."
  • The June 28, 1966 Variety reported:   "Catherine Spaak back to Rome after winding part in WB's 'Hotel,' to begin Italian pic, 'Do You Enow How To Make A Baby?'."
  • In the June 12, 1966 N.Y. Times profile of Catherine by Rex Reed, she is quoted as saying:  "Also, when I finish 'Hotel' I must return immediately to Rome to make something for Francesco Rosi called 'The Mermaid.' Twenty men and one girl trapped in a submarine waiting for war to break out, but it never does.  Very amusing, yes?"
Based on google-translated synopsis of the film from several web sites and my viewing of a Spanish language print, the plot goes something like this:   

The deranged captain (O.W. Fischer) of a German U-boat for 20 years ignores the end of World War II and patrols the seas looking for a fight.  The submarine has on board a young woman, Ombrina (Catherine), who as a baby was rescued from the sea by the crew and was raised by them.  After a yacht drops its anchor on top of the submarine, the crew (including Ombrina) goes outside of the sub to remove the anchor.  Ombrina climbs aboard the yacht observes the party that is taking place, and tries to scavenge some food.  She spots a handsome doctor, Nicola (Philippe Leroy), and is immediately smitten by him.  Ombrina uses a slab of meat to knock Nicola unconscious, drag him overboard, and take him back to the submarine.

The captain will not let Nicola remain on the sub and has the unconscious doctor deposited on shore.  Ombrina convinces one of the crewmen to help her ashore, where she pursues Nicola.  With the language barrier, the plot starts to become hard for me to follow at this point.  For some reason, Ombrina and Nicola end up alone on an island for a while before Ombrina returns to the sub.  Nicola ends up as a prisoner on a yacht, until Ombrina comes aboard and rescues him, taking him back to the sub with her.  Some confrontation takes place between the yacht and the sub, and somehow Nicola and Ombrina end up in the water, swimmingly happily away together.  Ombrina wants to make love, not war.

My sense is that this film is probably not "classic Spaak" but is not terrible, either.  It likely falls into the category of just being "OK."  Catherine is carrying a little more weight in this film than was typical in her previous films, and in my opinion, it looks great on her.  Another interesting aspect of the film is a hospital scene in which she does not appear to be wearing makeup.  I have seen one or two pictures through the years in which you can see that Catherine had a lot of freckles across her upper cheeks, below her eyes.  That is evident in those hospital scenes, which is uncommon for her.  It gives her a very different appearance, neither better nor worse, just different. 
 
This is one of the more difficult of Catherine's films to find, because it appears to have not been shown on TV much and to have been very limited in its home video release.  At some point, it was released on VHS video in Spain.  That is the print that I have viewed, and I am not fluent in Spanish.  It's never a plus to watch Catherine act with another person voicing her character.  Let's hope that someday a nice Italian-language DVD will be issued, so that we can better appreciate what this film has to offer for Catherine fans.

One thing that I noticed is that there were a couple of places where the print had a sudden cut to a different scene, the kind of thing that makes you think it may have been edited.  However, the print that I viewed ran  a little over 86 minutes, and IMDB shows a running time of 87 minutes.  If the print was cut for the Spanish release, the edits must have been minor.  Perhaps it was just a sloppy editing job in the final print of the film.
 
According to IMDB, the film was released in Italy on December 23, 1966, but I have not seen any information to indicate whether or not the film performed well with audiences.  A half-page ad was placed in the February 6, 1967 Variety to promote sale of the film worldwide.  IMDB shows releases in 1968 in Colombia, Spain, and West Germany.  I have never seen any indication that the film was released in an English-speaking country.

Here are some FANTASTIC on-set publicity/modeling photos made during filming (you may notice that some of these pictures were used by various magazines that appear on the blog):






















































Here are some Italian posters (first and last courtesy of the archives at emovieposter.com):


A Spanish poster:

An Argentinian poster:


A Turkish poster: