Friday, April 18, 2014

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

Italian One Panel Poster (courtesy of the archives at

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):

Also, here are two Italian magazine clippings from 1966 that show Catherine on the set of the film:

Here are some Italian posters (first and fourth courtesy of the archives at

An Argentinian poster:

A Spanish poster:

A Turkish poster:

German programs and a German lobby card:


  1. Second "Spanish" is not from Spain, is the Argentinian. Lol, I know about posters

  2. Thanks for keeping me straight. I'm obviously having a hard time distinguishing the posters from the Spanish-speaking countries!

  3. This time, I was wrong: the "making love" (hago el amor) can not be from Spain on those Age and there's a Iberian peninsula in the second poster. The design of both are strange; the Argentinian seems Spanish and the Spanish Argentinian. So, 1st is ARG 2nd is SPA.

    In your voglia matta post I've updated some posters you did not have.

  4. Not sure if you caught this (or are still monitoring comments here), but a beautiful HD print of this film (in Italian) is now on YouTube: :-)