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October 11, 2023

The Most Beautiful Italian Woman of Tunis: 30 Glamorous Portraits of Claudia Cardinale From the 1960s

Though the international film market was glutted with sultry European actresses during the 1960s, few could boast the depth and range of talent as Claudia Cardinale. Blessed with an extraordinary face and figure, Cardinale began her career as lovely window dressing in films like Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958). But she soon proved to the cinematic community that her screen abilities...

The Italian star was originally discovered at a beauty contest held in 1957 by the Unitalia film company. The “most beautiful Italian woman of Tunis” subsequently won a trip to the Venice Film Festival that was to become a decisive turning point in her life. The sultry young woman was born on April 15, 1938, in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. Her mother was French, and her father Italian.

In 1958, Cardinale, known as CC, played her first role in Goha opposite Omar Sharif before being trained as an actress at the Italian Film Academy in Rome. Her talents as an actress renowned for her dauntless rambunctiousness gained her fame, and her gaze into the camera became legendary.

Famous director Luchino Visconti gave her minor roles in Rocco and his Brothers (1960), as well as in the historical drama The Leopard (1962) with Alain Delon. As she later recounted in a biographical interview, she rebuffed all of her famous film partners, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marcello Mastroianni, Alain Delon and Burt Lancaster.

Cardinale is Italy’s counterpart of Brigitte Bardot. But in contrast to Bardot, Cardinale never appeared nude in a film: “I always thought it was more erotic to leave some room to imagination, hinting at things rather than showing everything,” she told the German magazine Stern in 2014.

CC achieved her breakthrough with her performance in the highly popular Italo western Once Upon a Time in the West (1969). The classical western directed by Sergio Leone and starring Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson was shot in Rome’s Cinecittà studios and in Spain with some scenes set in Utah’s Monument Valley. The film that flopped in the US only acquired cult status in Europe.

Cardinale’s career already saw a downswing in the 1970s. She then turned to television films, especially entertainment films where she showed some talent as a comedian. She got her last main role in a movie in 1971 when she starred opposite her main rival, Brigitte Bardot, in the Italo western comedy Frenchie King.

1 comment:

  1. I have a major woman crush on her and she's old enough to be my mom. :)




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