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.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Uq4VVKC0jg

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.

Tiffin said:

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!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uxiX-pWVpY

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. 

Tiffin said:

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.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EifMgwhE8WU

 

 

 

Comments: 5

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  • John Black

    Glad to see that the site is back. Interesting stuff about Pamela Tiffin, I wasn’t aware of her European films. Another babe who went to Europe to make a couple of obscure films was Mamie Van Doren.

     
     
     
    • So did Carroll Baker, Mimsy Farmer, and Lisa Seagram.

       
  • Carlos

    LOL @ that YouTube clip of “Deaf Smith and Johnny Ears” in spanish!

    I love that clip of Pamela dancing “the surf” in “Oggi Domanni e Dopodomanni”….it’s very reminiscent of her shimmy in “Harper”. All she needs is a bikini and a diving board.

    I recently streamed “The Fifth Cord” via NetFlix and I must agree that it is beautifully shot and I was impressed with her role in it.

    I’m obsessed with Tiffin’s blonde period because I think she did it not only because she loved the attention she got once she did it, although I don’t really get this reasoning because blonde or brunette who wouldn’t in their right mind pay attention to her, but because she was really rebelling and trying to find herself.

    I truly believe she got fed up with being cast in those naive, innocent air-headed ingenue roles and she decided this was one way of distancing herself from that image. I also believe she rebelled because of her unhappy marriage to Clay Felker.

    I once came across a newspaper article where she felt she was two different people in conflict with each other. She even referred to her roles in films like “Come Fly With Me” and “The Pleasure Seekers” as “stupid movies” .

    She also acknowledged that her career was crazy. Honestly I feel Hollywood just didn’t know what to do with her.

    She had two very powerful agents at that time, Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff who are now Oscar winning producers, but back then they simply squandered her talent in some very thankless roles….and she knew it. That’s why she turned her attention to theater for a bit by playing “Yelena” in Harold Clurman’s production of “Uncle Vanya” and making her Broadway debut in the 1966 revival of “Dinner at Eight”.

    I am looking forward to attending “From Beach Party to Woodstock: The Pop Culture Revolution of Sixties America” program you will be hosting with Susan Schmidt and Joan DelFattore at the NYPL November 30th!

    I apologize for the long post but I really love Pamela Tiffin. I wish I could get to meet her one day and tell her myself. I really do hope she knows that people are still fascinated and love her to this day and that she left her mark.

     
     
     
  • Carlos

    In it’s entirety via You Tube…Pamela Tiffin’s segment from “Oggi Domani e Dopodomani”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMe08lh2Mws

     
     
     
    • Thanks for sharing. Wish though it had sub-titles or was dubbed so I an follow. Pamela looks gorgeous though.

       
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