Sunday, May 3, 2015

Catherine Spaak - Stardom Can Wait (1975 U.S. Pressbook Article)

The U.S. Pressbook for Take a Hard Ride includes a publicity article about Catherine entitled "Catherine Spaak - Stardom Can Wait" as follows:

"I do not want to be a star; I could not live happily as one."  This is the sincere view of Catherine Spaak, the female lead in "Take a Hard Ride" which Harry Bernsen produced for release through 20th Century-Fox.  At 29 she made 47 films but this is her first western.

In Italy where Catherine has made most of her films she is recognized as being an actress of the highest standing.  "I have had the opportunity to be bigger than I am, to be more internationally known, but I have consciously stepped aside from it," she says.  "If I had set my heart on being first, I might have achieved it, but only at the expense of things far more dear to me - home and family and leisure interests."

"I worked hard for ten years, film after film in Italy and France, and I saw what happens to people who become career obsessed.  Today I have a happy marriage, children, a full life.  I like to paint and read and sing.  I'm the sort of person who likes not to work - and I'm lucky enough not to have to work all of the time.  My career takes up a third of my life; the rest is for my home and marriage and private interests."

Catherine Spaak was born in Paris but has lived since the age of sixteen in Rome.  She returned to France to learn her craft at the National Theater in Paris under Gerard Phillipe.  She made her  film debut at the age of sixteen but spent four years in the theatre before devoting herself entirely to films.  In the following ten years she made films in Italy, France, Spain and England but they were known mainly in the country of their origin.  With typical frankness she says she did not enjoy living in California and working on her one Hollywood film - "Hotel" starring Rod Taylor and Merle Oberon.  "I am essentially a European," she says.  [Note:  Catherine was fifteen when she made her film debut and I have not read any other reports of her having spent 4 years in the theatre at an early age.]

In "Take a Hard Ride," a western in the classic style, she plays the role of a woman (called Catherine in the film, too) whose husband is murdered in front of her eyes by bandits in the Arizona desert.  The murderers plan to rape and kill the woman but she is rescued by two men riding to Sonora.  She joins her rescuers on their ride and eventually sacrifices herself in their cause.  Of her first western role Catherine says:  "It is a thoughtful part; the woman I play has a philosophy about life which I can understand.  She realizes that the two men riding to Sonora are on a mission that is worthwhile, and this gives her the will to go on living."

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