Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 9, 2018


Mastroianni and Ekberg in La dolce vita and 27 years later, both still sexy
 (2014  documentary). Director: Mark Rappaport.

While I always strive to review a book or movie for what it is as opposed to what it isn't, sometimes you're not given much of a choice. If you tune in to a (very short) documentary entitled Becoming Anita Ekberg, you would think you'd have a right to expect some sort of biographical treatment, and that you might be told, say, what her early life was like; who, if anyone, she might have married; some of her personal thoughts on her films and co-workers; how she got her start in show business; and so on. Alas, Becoming Anita Ekberg is yet another of director Mark Rapport's insufficient "video essays," this time purportedly on Ekberg but more about the nature of stardom and the short shelf life of sex symbols. (Some of this is interesting while much of it is obvious and pretentious.) You won't learn much more than the basics about Ekberg herself: how she played "Anita Ekberg" in the Martin and Lewis comedy Hollywood or Bust (an all too obvious title); reached international stardom as the movie star in Fellini's famous La dolce vita; and wound up playing herself again in Boccaccio '70, this time as a giant-size poster of herself that comes to life. For the record Ekberg was married to actors Rik Van Nutter and Anthony Steel and had sixty-five credits in films, few of which are even mentioned. Her life and career were actually quite interesting, but you will learn much more at than you will from this "documentary." Obviously, this is just a collection of clips tied together to illustrate Rappaport's ruminations, with the clips coming first and the ruminations second. There's also a bit of ageism in this as the film tries to make out that Ekberg has become hideous or something because she's older, but she and Mastroianni, although undeniably older, still look quite attractive. One of her later movies was Killer Nun. She was certainly prominent in the poster for Back from Eternity, which gurgled "Ooh That Ekberg!" Rappaport was also responsible for Debra Paget, For Example, which is somewhat better than this.

Verdict: Skip it and watch one of Ekberg's movies instead. *. 


angelman66 said...

That is the curse of being beautiful in Hollywood--you are expected to maintain your youth (and your waistline) forever, or you are scorned and spurned.
Not so in Europe--which is why actors like Charlotte Rampling and Jeanne Moreau and Isabelle Huppert and Helen Mirren show us that there is beauty and sexiness and vitality at any and every age! (Of course, they relied on their talent rather than their looks as theri careers developed.

William said...

Very good points, Chris. Glad attitudes towards agining are different in other spots on the globe. In any case, I'm sure both Anita and Marcello could still be invited into many beds no matter how old they got!