Here we go with another round of cinematic sexiness just waiting to be discovered by a larger audience. In case you missed #16-20, be sure to check out last week’s Part One of this series…
TYPE OF SEXINESS: May-December Romance On The Emerald Isle
Nothing Personal is an understated film that depicts the relationship between a lonely older man and an emotionally guarded young woman. Out of all the movies on my list, this is the only one that I wouldn’t call “sexy” by most regular standards. Instead, there’s a gradual, restrained blossoming between the two characters. When those quiet moments approximating sexiness do arrive, they’re all the more poignant. It’s one of those movies that I wish was longer.
Dutch actress Lotte Verbeek, who most recently appears on the cable program The Borgias, plays the female lead. Little is actually explained about her character, who is introduced hitch-hiking across the Irish countryside. Only a small glimpse is given of her previous life. During her travels, she happens upon a secluded cottage. The owner, played by Stephen Rea, offers her food in return for performing maintenance around his home. She rebukes his attempts at friendliness, but accepts the work. As the movie progresses, Verbeek lets her guard down and they grow attached to each other.
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: You’ll have to watch this for yourself and see what you get from it. It’s difficult to single out any one scene, since I found the sexiness in the film to be subtle.
TYPE OF SEXINESS: Euro-Bombshell Anthology
There were a number of 60′s anthology films that brought together notable European directors of the era. More than a few also assembled some of the most desirable actresses from that time. The Dolls features three Italian sirens – Monica Vitti, Virna Lisi, Gina Lollobrigida and one German - Elke Sommer, each starring in their own segment. Here is a breakdown:
“The Telephone Call” – Virna Lisi repeatedly cuts off the amorous advances of her husband while she carries on a comically trivial phone conversation with her mother. To occupy himself, he focuses on his neighbor as she sunbathes topless.
“A Treatise on Eugenics” – Elke Sommer is studying eugenics (the science of propagating desirable genetic traits, which is a tad creepy since she’s German…) in Italy in order to find the perfect male specimen to mate with. Her guide is an intelligent, though physically imperfect, fellow who falls in love with her.
“The Soup” – Monica Vitti keeps hiring people to (unsuccessfully) kill her boring husband. Along with being one of the most striking actresses from the 60′s, Vitti is also one of the funniest. Her facial expressions and mannerisms are hilarious. She’s also entertaining in The Girl with a Pistol, about a conservative Italian woman who intends to shoot the man who tricked her out of her virtue.
“Monsignor Cupid” – Gina Lollobrigida tries to seduce the nephew of a monsignor. He fails to catch on, much to her frustration. She makes his life miserable out of spite. This is probably the sexiest of the four.
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: In this scene, Gina Lollobrigida puts on a strip-tease through a keyhole in hopes of attracting the attention of the monsignor’s nephew:
The next two films both feature Robert Hossein as the leading man. I mention this only because this guy has worked with an envy-inducing assortment of the hottest actresses from the 60′s. Catherine Deneuve, Monica Vitti, Sophia Loren… That has to give him some serious sexy street cred. He’s like 85 now, but he must have some good memories.
TYPE OF SEXINESS: Brigitte Bardot
Roger Vadim was the director responsible for unleashing Brigitte Bardot upon the world. After casting her in 1956′s …And God Created Woman Bardot’s status as an international sex symbol exploded. It became the most successful foreign film in the United States, while at the same time meeting with protests by church and women’s groups for its scandalous content. Men lusted after her in droves, and the term “Bardolatry” was coined to describe the phenomenon. (NOTE: Vadim came out with something of a remake in the 80′s starring Rebecca De Mornay that failed to achieve the same degree of success.) Here’s a clip of the climactic dance scene from …And God Created Woman just to give you an idea of what all the fuss was about almost sixty years ago:
Bardot went on to star in four other films directed by Vadim. Love on a Pillow, released six years later, is my favorite of their post-…And God Created Woman collaborations. In the film, Bardot accidentally saves a man from the verge of suicide when she walks into the wrong hotel room. They start up an affair, and she casts aside her structured lifestyle. Naturally, there’s a scene where the romance becomes rocky. For some reason it makes me laugh. Maybe because Bardot totally flips out (she even makes that seem erotic):
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: As is the case with many of her films, Bardot takes her clothes off in Love on a Pillow. They had to be a bit more discreet in those days with the nudity, so it’s implied more than actually shown. When it comes to Brigitte Bardot, though, even an implication is enough to stoke the flames of one’s more primitive yearnings. Speaking of which, here she is warming herself in front of a fireplace:
TYPE OF SEXINESS: Swashbuckling And Sensuality
Based on a series of historical novels set in 17th century France, there are a total of five films featuring the Angélique character. French actress Michèle Mercier played the title role, which made her so famous that it overshadowed the rest of her career. I’ve sat through the first two movies so far. Angélique (or Angélique, marquise des anges) kicks off the pentalogy. The bulk of the film is about her arranged marriage to a wealthy count, who was left crippled and scarred from his adventures. Angélique initially finds him unappealing until she realizes that he is a brave and goodhearted soul. Their love blooms. Unfortunately, his large income is derived from his knowledge of cupelling, or the process of separating gold from lead. The church deems this to be the work of a sorcerer. On top of that, Angelique has made some enemies of her own after foiling a plot to murder the king. When malevolent forces conspire to disrupt her newly found happiness, Angélique must defend her honor and the life of her husband.
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: Brigitte Bardot turned down the the opportunity to play Angélique, but Michèle Mercier certainly holds her own in the role. The viewer gets to see just about as much of Mercier as was allowed at the time. Also, I have a thing for costume dramas, and she wears the wardrobe well. Here’s a clip of when Angélique consummates her marriage (there are no subtitles, but you can figure out what’s going on):
TYPE OF SEXINESS: Lovers On The Run
Running Hot was the first film from Mark Griffiths, who would later direct the bikini-fests Hardbodies and Hardbodies II (as well as a bunch of TV stuff). It was also the first major movie role for Eric Stoltz. While both Griffiths and Stoltz have had long careers, the lead actress in Running Hot, Monica Carrico, only appeared in one other movie (Guilty by Suspicion). I would’ve liked to have seen Griffiths make more movies like Running Hot, because it’s really not too bad. That Monica Carrico, who is quite likable, never made another significant film appearance is even more lamentable.
Stoltz plays a 17 year-old wrongly accused of murder. Carrico is the older woman with a worldly past who became obsessed with Stoltz after seeing his story on the news. She writes to him in jail constantly, and even kisses his image when he appears on television. When he escapes police custody, she’s the only person he can turn to. They hit the road after an altercation that results in the death of a local news anchor, and to flee the vengeful detective that Stoltz got the better of. This is one of the few crime movies where the lovers on the lam are actually sympathetic. Stoltz really is innocent. Carrico is a sweet, if naive, person who just wants a happy life. So, when things go sour, I get to feeling low.
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: This is a scene between Stoltz and Carrico where some goofing around leads to those special feelings:
We’ll be back with part 3, as we keep counting down the list with #10-6 of cinema’s sexiest under-seen films.