Sunday, February 9, 2014

Catherine Spaak: The Year in Review - 1963

1963 French Magazine Photo

The year started with a January 30 civil wedding in a Paris town hall to Fabrizio Capucci (which Catherine's parents did not attend), followed in February by a church wedding at the Church of San Bonaventura in Rome and the premiere of La Parmigiana in Rome at the cinema Archimede on February 15.  Vittorio Gassman was among the attendees at the Rome wedding.  The fact that Catherine was seven months pregnant at her wedding raised a few eyebrows.

These photos are from the Paris civil ceremony (with Agnes in attendance representing the Spaak family):

Here is some youtube news footage (dated February 3, 1963) of the Rome wedding:

Here are some photos from the Rome wedding:

Some magazine clippings with more wedding photos:

The church was built in 1625 and is currently closed.  Here are recent pictures of the inside and outside of the church:

(Note:  The only source that I have found for the site of the wedding was from the caption on the back of a press photo from 1963.  While similar, there are some notable differences between what you see in the video and press photos above, as compared to the recent church photos shown below.  At this time, I have not determined an explanation for those differences.)

Catherine gave birth to her first child, daughter Sabrina, on April 16 in Rome.

As an indication of the success that Catherine was having, look no further than the May 8, 1963 edition of Variety, which contains an article listing the top 30 films (from all countries) at the Italian box office for the 1962-1963 mid-year period.  Three of Catherine's films are on the list:  Il sorpasso (#3), L'amore difficile (#22), and La parmigiana (#29).

Soon after giving birth to Sabrina, Catherine returned to work for the shooting of Le monachine in and around Rome.  The July 24, 1963 edition of Variety reported that "Catherine Spaak wound 'Le Monachine,' and went right into Empty Canvas."

Before commencing work on The Empty Canvas in Rome in July,  Catherine apparently took a vacation to France.  The July 3, 1963 edition of Variety reported simply:  "Catherine Spaak to Nice."
Although Catherine had converted to Catholicism in an effort to fit-in with the Capucci family, she incurred Fabrizio's ire by ignoring his pleas and those of her Catholic advisor and taking the role of Cecilia in The Empty Canvas, which was considered to be much too racy for her.  Apparently rumors were flying that there was a romance on the set between Catherine and her co-star Horst Buchholz (who was also married).
Here are a couple of press photos of Catherine and Fabrizio dated September 4, 1963:
The caption for the photos states:

"It was some rumour about Catherine Spaak flirt (sic) with German actor Horz Buchholz her partner in 'The Empty Canvas', but the actress wanted to belie it and gay appeared last night in Via Veneto."

Also, during that summer, Catherine's cover of Francois Hardy's "Quelli della mia eta" (Those of My Age) was a hit and went on to sell one million copies in France and Italy and topped the Italian hit parade.  The August 7, 1963 edition of Variety noted:  "Miss Spaak, a relative newcomer in pix, recorded her first song on a bet.  She now has a summer bestseller, 'Quelli della mia eta,' which is giving the original Francoise Hardy version a tussle in currently nearing 100,000 sales.  Miss Spaak is pacted to Ricordi, which brought out her first disk and is now prepping 'Primo di te dopo di te' and several others.  Actress wants it made clear, however, that she is first and foremost a film player, and that her record sideline is just that-though a highly profitable one."  Quelli della mia eta reached number 7 in Italy in September 1963, and Prima di te, dopo di te made the top ten later that month.  Here are some photos of Catherine's 45 rpm records released in 1963:

This is the front and back cover of Catherine's first full album, released in Italy later in 1963 on the Ricordi label; it was a compilation of singles released to date plus some new material:

This is the cover of the LP as released in France on the CBS label:

This is the back cover of a 1963 Italian compilation record that includes a couple of Catherine's songs:

Here is a clip of Catherine performing Quelli della mia eta (under its French title, Tous les garcons et les filles).  The clip is labeled as being from 1964, but I know nothing about it, so I am including it here in this discussion about the 1963 release of the record.

These photos appear to be from 1963, since it looks like a photo from the session was used on one of the magazine covers shown below:

Here are some photos and clippings that I am guessing are from 1963, although I do not know the exact dates or circumstances surrounding them:

Here is a French magazine article from 1963 (probably in the summer):

The first two pictures show Catherine on the set of The Empty Canvas.  The caption for the second picture quotes Sophia Loren as saying that Catherine is one of the great actresses of the future.  The third picture shows Catherine in a recording studio and says that her latest record has sold 150,000 copies.  The text talks about her famous relatives:  politician uncle Paul-Henri, playwright uncle Claude, and screen-writer father Charles.  It says that she has made a name for herself with three films in France and nine in Italy, where she now lives.  Her latest is l'Ennui, and she has a song in second place on the Italian music charts.  She wrote the melodies, and her husband wrote the lyrics.

In the first picture at left, Catherine is trying on some of the fashions of her brother-in-law, designer Roberto Capucci.  The second picture at left is of Catherine and Fabrizio in the streets of Rome after leaving the fashion house.  The third picture at left of Catherine and Fabrizio has a caption saying that Catherine styles herself after two of her favorite actresses:  Audrey Hepburn and Jeanne Moreau.  The text in the center says that Fabrizio is 24, the younger brother of Roberto, and has 10 films under his belt.  It says that he does not want to be in the family business, but dreams of being a stage director and to direct his young wife.

The caption for the picture at top-left says that Catherine lives on the third floor of the Capucci villa where she has a kitchen, bathroom, and living room with a terrace.  There is a housekeeper and maid that live on the ground floor.  The caption for the second picture says that her residence is decorated with abstract paintings, half English and half Japanese.  When relaxing around the house, she likes to wear Japanese pajamas.  The caption for the third picture at left says that, in the bath, she doesn't like to get her hair wet, so she keeps it covered.  It also notes that she has Chinese vases on the shelves that were purchased in a Rome antique shop.  The caption for the large picture says that Sabrina weighs 6.5 kilos and is a good child, but she has a bad habit of biting anything that gets near her.  The text says that Sabrina's birth helped to reconcile Catherine with her father.  Although he had no problem with her entering the film business at age 14, he went into a rage when she announced that she wanted to get married.  He said that she must wait until age 25, but Catherine proceeded by converting to Catholicism, which made him worry that their family would be split.  He tried to lure her back from Italy by promising her a large role in a film just for her, but to no avail.  Gradually, he warmed to the idea of her marriage, and when Sabrina was born, he called all of his friends to tell them that he was a grandfather.
On August 7, Le puits aux trois verites premiered in the U.S. in New York City, under the title Three Faces of Sin.

At some point during the year, probably between completion of La noia and the start of La calda vita, Catherine recorded an appearance on a TV show in Italy (that did not air until December).  The December 18, 1963 edition of Variety contains a review of a 75-minute variety show directed by Enzo Trapani called "Smash" that aired on RAI-TV.  The review states in part:

"A confused, too often unfunny, their new variety show taken off the local shelf by RAI-TV after some months in the can, wasted the talents of several valuable performers...Among bright spots, though denoting age in obvious age of months-old songs, were p.a.'s by comely Catherine Spaak, effectively singing 'Noi Due' (We Two) top reaction." 

I have never seen any footage of that TV appearance, nor do I have any other information about it at this time.

It did not help matters between Fabrizio and Catherine when she did even more "nude" scenes while filming La calda vita in Sardinia in the Fall of 1963 with Fabrizio.

The October 23, 1963 edition  of Variety reported that Catherine had been signed for La ronde.  It also reported that "moving up fast on Italo record ratings:  Catherine Spaak and 'Primo di Te, Dop di Te' (Ricordi)."

The Empty Canvas premiered in Rome on December 4, 1963, and Il Sorpasso had its U.S. premiere in New York City on December 22.   Furthermore, by December, Catherine and Fabrizio split up in a very public manner, and he had Catherine detained at the border on December 16 as she tried to leave Italy by train with Sabrina.  After being escorted back to Rome by the authorities and placed under house arrest, Catherine was awarded temporary custody of Sabrina.  

The below press photo purports to show Fabrizio out Christmas shopping for Sabrina while Catherine was trying to leave the country with her.  The snipe also noted that she had earlier applied for a legal separation from him.

Catherine's work on The Empty Canvas and La Calda Vita also provided her with a new romantic interest as, immediately upon her separation from Fabrizio, she became the constant companion of Sante Achilli, a 29-year-old cameraman that worked on both films.  The rumors may have been of a romance with the married Buchholz, but perhaps the press should have been looking elsewhere on-set for her romantic interests!

This is purportedly a photo of Catherine at a 1963 New Year's Eve party in Rome:

All in all, 1963 appears to have been a very busy and tumultuous year for 18-year-old Catherine, both personally and professionally, as her star continued to rise.

Magazines on which Catherine was featured in 1963:

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