Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cavegirl: Senta Berger

Having examined her two Italian cavegirl films (Quando le donne avevano la coda (1970)  and Quando donne le persero la coda (1972)) in the last two posts it is time to look at the luscious Senta Berger in all of her cavegirl glory.

Her costumes from the first film, When Women had Tails, are even more minimalist than those worn by the Hammer heroines as they seem to be composed mainly of knotted string and a few bits of animal skin.

The dangling "tails" add the requisite untailored and savage look as well as emphasising the movement of her splendid body.

The glory of her cavegirl look is, however, her magnificent mane of red hair. Redheads.of course, evolved (or, rather, mutated) comparatively recently and were confined to Northern Europe so we can't give the producers many points for historical accuracy here! 

The obvously Mediterranean setting of the film doesn't look much like Scandinavia, where her outfit wouldn't have given her much protection from the Ice Age weather!

Beneath this mane of hair her loincloth was enticingly minimalist!

Even more minimalist was her second costume in the film which was constructed from a few strips of animal skin.  One of the most original and effective cavegirl outfits in the history of the cinema!

So, all in all her cavegirl costumes in the first film are just excellent!

The second cavegirl film she made, When Women lost their Tails, had a very different visual look, not least because it was shot solely in a studio, on one set.

Her look in this film was much more "civilised" (although to be fair that was part of the theme of the film) and although she still had her long red hair it was now artfully curled and less straggly.

What a beauty!

She had two main costumes in this film as well.  The first was a black and white number with enticing cut-outs.

The second costume was a more conventional cavegirl outfit of a low cut skin top with a long white fur fringe over an animal skin loincloth.

Both outfits are cute but they cover much more of her up than in the first film so our vote has to go for the costumes from When Women had Tails.

Senta Berger was born in Vienna in 1941 and first appeared on stage at the age of four, singing with her father, a musician.  Her first acting role, as an extra, was at the age of nine.  Later she took acting lessons and her first proper film role came in 1957 when she was sixteen.  A year later she joined the Josefstadt Theatre in Vienna.

From a shoot done in Mexico at the time of the filming of Major Dundee

Many of her early films were musicals but in 1962 she went to Hollywood where she made a number of films as well as continuing to work in Germany, France and Italy.

Senta in The Ambushers

Publicity still from The Man from Uncle

Triple P remembers her from the Dean Martin starring Matt Helm film The Ambushers (1967).  She also appeared in The Man from Uncle and the pilot episode of It takes a Thief on TV as well as, more bizarrely, singing on The Rolf Harris show (1971) on UK TV (it was a German co-production).

Senta looking particularly voluptuous in Sam Pekinpah's Major Dundee

Other major film roles at this time included Major Dundee (1965), The Quiller Memorandum (1966) and Cross of Iron (1977).

After the seventies most of her work was in Europe but she continued to work regularly in TV, theatre and film and has two movies in post-production currently.

Senta in Roma Bene (1970)

In the Seventies Senta was happy to get her clothes off for the film cameras, we are glad to say. 

Since 2003 she has been the president of the German Film Academy which is responsible, amongst other things, for the German Film Awards.

Senta last year; still looking fantastic at the age of 69

All in all we can't fault Senta as a cavegirl (particularly in her first pre-historic epic) and have to give her a 10/10.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Quando donne le persero la coda (1972)

The second of Senta Berger's cavegirl films (after Quando le donne avevano la coda (1977) ), Quando le donne persero la coda (When women lost their tails (1972) - a direct sequel) has Filli  (Berger) happily living in a cave inside a dinosaur skeleton (the usual faint grasp of prehistoric history is evident) with the "comedy" cave brothers from the first film.

It's life Jim, but not as we know it.

The brothers, incidentally, now look nothing like they did in the first film where they could easily have fitted in with the cast of one of the Hammer epics but are wearing pastiche "prehistoric" costume that almost looks like fancy dress.

Their dull existence is disturbed by the arrival of a sophisticated caveman (Lando Buzzanca) who cons them out of a pig, introduces them to currency and economics and then targets, understandably, Filli.  Interestingly women and pigs have been proven to have been prime raiding targets for cavemen (see here).

Unlike the original film, which was filmed on location, this production was entirely studio bound.

The cave set looks like something from the original Star Trek and the whole thing is more like a live action Flintsones rather than One Million Years BC.

The film, which is "comedy" at its broadest was co-written, somewhat surprisingly, by future art house doyenne Lina Wertmuller.

Nevertheless, Senta Berga looks sensational again and in the next post we will look at her cavegirl costumes from both films.