TIFFIN, ITALIAN STYLE
Sultry brunnette Pamela Tiffin was one of the early Sixties most promising and popular starlets of the day. After receiving acclaim and Golden Globe Award nominations for her performances in Summer and Smoke and One, Two, Three in 1961 she went on to star in such popular, though fluffy, films as Come Fly with Me, For Those Who Think Young, and The Pleasure Seekers. In 1965, she held her own opposite Paul Newman and an all-star cast in the hard-boiled detective drama Harper playing a spoiled, unhappy heiress whose father has gone missing. It was at this point when she dyed her hair blonde and went off to work in Italy making only sporadic returns to Hollywood before retiring in 1975. Below is a brief overview of, arguably, her three top Italian movies.
Oggi, domani, dopodomani (1965)
A three-part 1965 comedy reduced to two parts when released in the U.S. in 1968 as Kiss the Other Sheik. In the funiest sequence (La moglie bionda), Tiffin (in a role meant for Sue Lyon) is the sexy flighty wife of businessman Marcello Mastroianni who arranges to sell her to a shiek for his harem. But his wife is not as dumb as he thinks. The witty tagline read: His Vice Was Selling His Wife…Until the Vice Went Versa
Tiffin said in my book Fantasy Femmes of Sixties Cinema:
When Carlo Ponti offered me this film, it was with the stipulation that I go blonde. In Hollywood, they always asked me to be blonde and I always said no because in the Mid-West nice girls didn’t dye their hair. So in Italy they bleached only the front of it because I said the back is mine–brunette. I was surprised that I enjoyed being a blonde so much that I promptly dyed all of my hair.
Giornata nera, per l’Ariete/The Fifth Cord (1971)
A spine tingling atmospheric giallo starring Franco Nero as a alcoholic journalist investigating a string of serial killings that always take place on a Tuesday. When people he knows begin to get diced, he becomes the prime suspect. Pamela, in a supporing role, is his free-spirited girlfriend who maybe the killer’s next target. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and scored by Ennio Morricone.
This film holds up to this day because of the impressive cinematography by Vittorio Storaro who captured the real Europe and not theEuropeof tourists. During production, I noticed that Storaro lit our scenes the way Richard Avedon did during my modeling days. When I commented on this he froze and then said, ‘Tu sei molte intelligente!
Los Amigos/Deaf Smith and Johnny Ears (1973)
Set during the time of upheaval in Texas, the film starred Anthony Quinn as a deaf mercenary and Franco Nero as is his partner Johnny Ears. When an ex-general attempts to install himself as dictator, the Texas president Sam Houston calls in Deaf Smith for help. Tiffin played a whore with a heart of gold, who falls in love with Nero.
I love westerns because I love nature and that kind of folklore. Anthony Quinn is larger than life and is attractive in a primordial kind of way. He was very easy to work with. Franco Nero is very tall, very handsome, and very decent. He had the impact in Europe that Paul Newman had in America.