Biography 女優の伝記

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Date of birth (location)
22 August 1933, Zagreb Yugoslavia
Date of death (details)
26 December 1994, Rome Italy, after a long illness

Born in Croatia, Sylva Koscina studied physics at the University of Naples, But she was also Miss Di Tappa at the Tour of Italy bicycle race in 1954 and, above all, a fashion model.

She made a fleeting appearance in the part of an aspiring actress in Siamo uomini o caporali? [Are we men or caporals?](1955) before making a flying catch at her great opportunity: she is Giulia, daughter of the train engineer Andrea, in Pietro Germi's Il ferroviere [The Railroad man](1956). Pretty, and even too elegant for the part, Sylva Koscina immediately confirms her talent in Guendalina (1957) where she has no difficulty playing the part of a young mother. But her daughter, a charming Jacqueline Sassard, steals the show.

A lead player in popular comedies like Nonna Sabella [Grandmother Sabella] (1957), Ladro lui, ladra lei [He a thief she a thief] (1958), and Poveri millionari [Poor millionaires] (1958),Koscina alternated cleverly between roles as vamp and as ingenue. She represented women in the search for social upward mobility, the image of an Italy that had left its worst problems behind.

Sylva was suited to sophisticated comedies like Mogli pericolose [Dangerous wives] (1958) where she makes a direct sentimental challenge to poor Giorgia Moll. But she also seemed at ease draped in a peplum: she makes a marvelous fiancee for Hercules in Le fatiche di Ercole [Hercules] (1958), a prototype of this kind of film. Il vigile [The policeman] (1960), where she plays her own self, gives us a true example of her popularity: in order to win her over, Alberto Sordi, then a traffic officer in real life, lrt her go without a ticket. sylva, guest on a television program, thanked him on the air, thus getting him into lots of trouble.

An actress noted for her carriage, Sylva has an "important," entirely feminine way of walking on the screen (and at times she professes it as in Mogli pericolose where she lectures Giorgia Moll on how to walk like a lady). In many of her roles she gives the impression of modeling at a fashion show, head high, mouth very slightly open, eyes lost in the distance. She is the elegant actress of the sixties with an aristocratic manner bordering on snobbery.

In the first half of the sixties Sylva Koscina bacame the wife of Raimondo Castelli, a small producer connected with Minerva Films. She managed to keep well afloat with roles that were anything but negligible such as the dramatic part in Damiano Damiani's Il sicario [The hired killer] (1961). In La lepre e la tartaruga [The Hare and the Tortoise], an episode in Le quattro verita [The Three Fables of Love](1963), the director Blasetti constructs a deliciously sophisticated duel between her and Monoca Vitti. Then, in 1965 Sylva takes part in Giulietta degli spiriti [Juliet of the Spirits] as one of Juliet's sisters. But she also becomes a television personality who is often the special guest on variety shows.

After passing thirty, she too tried playing the American card. She partnered actors such as Kirk Douglas in A Lovely Way to Die (1968) and Paul Newman in The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1967), but without luck. Her fame being a bit tarnished, it was given a boost in the second half of the sixties with her appearance, photographed bare-breasted, in the Italian edition of Playboy magazine. There was nothing obscene in the exquisite photography by Angelo Frontoni, but the simple fact of such a popular actress appearing in the slick pages of a for-men-only magazine provoked a scandal.

Thus the image of Sylva, based on an elegant and slightly snobbish femininity was enriched with a touch of the erotic. This occurred also because in that period Mauro Bolognini's L'assolute naturale [He and She] (1969) was released complete with a "chaste" full nude shot. This was a sign of the radical change Italian cinema and society were undergoing.

 "Of course, if it had not been for the director, I wouldn't have done this film"

"It was definitely the strangest and most sexy picture I've done up to now", said Sylva Koscina as we sat on a hilltop in Northern Italy. She was there for the shooting of her lastest film The Hornet's Nest in which she shares top-billing with Rock Hudson. But it was not this film that Sylva referred to. As we sat in her trailer at the end of a dat's shooting we were talking about her most recently completed film He And She. A film made in Italy with Laurence Harvey as her co-star. Word has it that the picture contains some very erotic scenes. So when Sylva, who gained her early reputation as a sexpot, describes He And She in this way there must be something to it !

The story takes place on a motorway when "he" and "she" meet - the personalities have no names in the film. I asked Sylva how she felt doing such erotic scenes.
"I was very nervous at the beginning because I'm really a very shy person. Also, it was something new for me to shoot these kind of scenes. There are three in particular which are strong, very strong ... a little disgusting, too.

"But you see, this picture is not a stupid one, it's not just a sex film. The idea is from a book, a theatrical dialogue by Goffredo Parise, a very well-known Italian writer, and is a struggle between two personalities.

"'He' reflects free intellectuality, believes in art and poetry, is very sensitive ... 'he' is searching for an ideal love. 'she' reflects symbolitically rich society, and is the expression of most pure instinct of nature. 'she' is very realistic and so possessive as to destroy 'his' freedom.

"It's a psychological picture, so every gesture, every situation is really important. Everything had to be there, that's why I had to do it. So I forgotSylva the woman, the private one, and became completely the actress and the character I was playing.
"Of course, if it hadn't been for the director, Mario Bolognini, I wouldn't have done this film. I have such respect for him."
With so much emphasis on sex in films does she think there's too much nudity on the screen these days ?
"Yes, there is. Nudity can be nice, beautiful, but should not be vulgar. It depends on which way you are treating something. I'm not for pornography. I'm for nudity, but for the classic, beautiful, clean nude !"

Sylva Koscina is beautiful, but she has the added attributes of being intelligent and very honest in what she says. Born in Zagreb, Yogoslavia, she moved to Italy when she was eight years old. After completing high school, she enrolled at the University of Naples where she took mathematics and physics.

But how does someone on the way to becoming a professor in these subjects end up in the film business ?
"I suppose like every girl, I thought about the theatre, about films, about being a star." she said. "So finally, I decided to go to Rome ... after all, it was the film city and I thought it was worth a try. But things were really very, verydifficult and not at all encouraging. So I became a fashion model. After a month, an Italian director who had seen my stills in the newspaper called me to do a test. Finally he said, 'O.K., you'll be my star in 'The Railroad Man.'

The film turned out to be a successful and beautiful one, and on the strength of that I signed a contract with Carlo Ponti. But after eighteen months there was a crisis with films in Italy. Ponti left for America taking Sophia Loren with him."
Sylva laughed as she said: "I was alone ! But in any case I was a star, so I said, 'Now I have to go on'."

Speaking honestly and frankly of this phase in her life, Sylva recalled, "I had a very difficult career because I decided to be honest ... no compromises. I thought that if I couldn't achieve some status in the business on these terms then I might as well go back to university and become a professor . I am very strongwilled, I think, and determined. But it was a very hard road really ... very hard."

"I was shy, I was well-educated and you know, I was a beautiful girl. I was continually getting invitations from producers which extended beyond lunch and dinner. And I was so concerned with my work and so incredibly naive at the time that I couldn't understand the connection between them. I would ask ' Why dinner, why lunch ?" She broke into peals of laughter as she added, "Now I understand !"

More serious she continued: "I learned French and some English. I have been building my career like my own life. Definitely more tiring, but I think it's better."

In a comparatively short film career, Sylva has appeared in more than thirty-five pictures, and her first role in an English film came in 1964 when she starred opposite Dirk Bogarde in Hot Enough For June. After that came Fellini's Juliet Of The Spirits in Italy and then back to England for Deadlier Than The Male.
But though she had gained a reputation in Europe by this time, the name Sylva Koscina meant virtually nothing in the United States. She admitted to being a bit despondent during this phase of her life.

"I wanted to go to America," she said, "but every time there was someone else who got pushed or recommended. I was really tired and lacking confidence in myself."

I asked if there was any connection between this and the photographic spread of her posing in the nude which appeared in a top American magazine two years ago.

She smiled: "Life is really strange. They had been asking me for these stills for years and I kept saying no, no, no ! And then I said to myself, 'Sylva, you're not eighteen, why not give it a try ?' But before these stills were shown, I was called for a test in London for a Paul Newman film, The Secret War Of Harry Frigg."
"I tested for ten minutes, close-up in English. And I got the part. So I was recognised for my personal qualities ... my acting ability, not just for my body. I was already in America by the beginning of 1967 and the picture spread didn't come out until May of that year !"

In her current film The Hornet's Nest Sylva has a chance to display her acting ability to the full as it's an action drama, not a love story. The only sexual thing is a rape scene between her and Rock Hudson. Of this she said: "It's not very sexy, but is strong and violent ... it's a horrible scene. Very hard to do."
With a World War II background, The Hornet's Nest is drawn from a real life incident which took place when the Nazis were making their last stand in Italy.

Rock Hudson plays an American captain who is parachuted with his regiment behind enemy lines. Their mission is to blow up the Della Norte Dam. But they are ambushed by the Nazis and the captain is the only survivor.

Badly injured, he is found by a group of boys who witnessed, but escaped from, the Nazi massacre of their families in a neighbouring village

Tears From Sylva

Sylva is convinced this film will have a great impact. "It shows how war destroys mentally as well as physically. We are all destroyed ... myself, Rock and the children."
Watching the shooting the afternoon, I was moved by Sylva Koscina's obviously deeply-felt emotion for the role she was playing. The scene was a tense one in which two of the youngest children (their ages range from 3 to 14) come and tell her that one of the boys has been killed during the ambush of the Nazis.
Sitting alone, she seemed oblivious of all the activity going on around her: the setting-up of camera positions, the lights, the general babble which exists before the yell of silence and the action begins.

It required tears from Sylva. And tears came, real tears, nothing faked and added by the make-up artist.

After a perfect take, director Phil Karlson went forward and put his arms round her. Everyone had been touched by the sensitivity of the scene. It was several moments before the tearful German doctor, caught up in the horrors of war, disappeared and Sylva Koscina, actress, emerged to walk slowly away from the set.

Later, as we sat in her trailer, I asked her about her ability of shutting out her surroudings in preparation for such a scene.
"Once it was very difficult for me because I couldn't forget the noises and people around me. But now, over a period of time, I find that Ican forget everything ... it comes naturally to me. Particularly in this picture, although there are a lot of situations very difficult to shoot. The film is hard on me physically, also it's in English, but I can become emotionally involved very easily for I experienced war as a child in Yugoslavia. I saw people dead and dying. I have a clear idea about war. For me it's enough to think and I'm there ... it's still there."

Sylva Koscina,besides being a dedicated film actress, is a dog-lover, is happily married and is building houses in her spare time.
She demonstrated the first when the continuity girl's missing dog showed up and was greeted by Sylva like a long-lost friend ! Added to which she has an entourage of four dogs of her own. They include a basset hound, one which she describes as a 'wolf' dog and two mongrels rescued from Spain and Italy !

Of the second (she was married in 1967 to Italian Raimondo Castelli) she said, "Now I am at peace with myself. Sometimes I think I'm stupid, that i'm not like the others, but now i'm happy. i'm tied maybe, but i'm happy."

Of the third, mention spare time and Sylva laughs delightedly.
"I'm building houses. It's no joke ! I bought a property near Rome because I decided that I would prefer to live outside the city. I spent a lot of time adding this and that and then thought I'd better have a place in Rome after all.

"So I bought an old house which had to be renovated. This started two and a half years ago. It still isn't ready. I'm going crazy now ! But I only need two, three,, four maybe five months now to complete it !"

Last year, Sylva went back to her homeland of Yugoslavia and made The Battle Of Neretva which stars, amongst others, Yul Brynner, Orson Welles and Franco Nero. Next yearshe plans to go there again to star in an Italian production.

What can we expect from Sylva Koscina in the future ? Will the image be a dramatic one and less of a sexpot ?
"Oh, no. I would like to do both and I love doing comedy, too. The role is the most important thing even if it's quite opposite to my own personality. And my body is still OK," she said laughingly, "so why cover it up !" Why, indeed ? IN THE 1980'S SYLVA KOSCINA HAD A LONG RUNNING LIVE THEATRE PERFORMANCE IN ROME. BY THEN A MATURE BUT STILL BEAUTIFULL SYLVA, PERFORMED EVERY NIGHT IN THE NUDE Source:

Obsolete Source 









スクリーン 1969年2月号にこんな記事が載っていました。



「日本伊製恐怖映画協会」提供。イタリアで出版された映画事典におけるコシナの記事 ... NEW


R.Chitti, E. Lancia, A. Orbicciani, R. Poppi 共著
GREMESE EDITORE 社(1999) 定価 L 6,000




ギリシャ人の父とポーランド人の母との間に生まれ、彼女は幼くして家族とともにイタリアに移住する。はじめはベルガモ、ブレッシャ、アンコーナといった町を転々とするが、最終的にナポリ大学物理学部に入学。とても魅力的で健康的、それに写真写りが良かったので、コシナはイタリア一周自転車競争「ジーロ・ディターリア1954」で花束を渡す美女「ミス・ア・タッパ」に選ばれた後に映画製作者たちから出演依頼が寄せられ、彼女はこの機を逃さなかった。彼女の銀幕デビューは殆ど知られていないが、女優志願者役で喜劇俳優トトと共演した“Siamo uomini o caporali”(1955)である。とは言え、この作品で初めてカメラと相対(あいたい)したことが、彼女をP・ジェルミの『鉄道員』出演にまで押し上げることになる。なぜなら、これがおそらくこの女優に対して与えられた最初の人間的な役だったからである。

彼女は喜劇舞台“Biondissimamente tua”(1966)やテレビでも活躍した。後者ではいくつかのコマーシャルと、とりわけエドモ・フェノーリョの“I giacobini”(1962)、ディーノ・リージの“...e la vita continua”(1984)のような連続ドラマで姿を見せた。喜劇ではアルベルタッツィ監督による“Topaz”(1970)、またはディーノ・ブッツァーティ原作・ギルベルト・トファーノ監督のオリジナル・テレビドラマ “Don Giovanni”(1961)、ヴィットリオ・デ・システィ監督の“Casa Cecilia”(1982および1984)等。彼女の最後のテレビ出演は、ツッチオ・テッサリの“Una grande storia d'amore” (1987) である。
(この項の記述 E. Lancia)


Hornets Nest - Sylva Koscina