Kerima (born February 10, 1925) is an actress best known for her role in Outcast of the Islands. Although commonly believed to be Algerian as she was portrayed when she gained fame as an actress, she is actually French.
Kerima in 1952
February 10, 1925
|Spouse(s)||Alexis Revidis m.1953|
Guy Hamilton (1964-2016) (his death)
Outcast of the Islands was set in Indonesia and her role was that of a native girl. In casting the role, director Carol Reed sought someone "seductive, radiant", "as the soul of the country with its mysterious forests." He felt no available actresses were right for the part. In an interview with Der Spiegel, he claimed to have searched for almost a year in Egypt, Singapore, and Borneo, auditioning "dancers, fashion models, beauty queens" before friends recommended Kerima, daughter of a very wealthy Arab in Algiers. Although her background was not Indonesian, film publicity sought to portray her as an indigenous islander. In London, she was quoted as saying "I live the life of Nature. I ride bareback, I walk barefoot, I swim bare." As she had no acting experience, her role was completely non-verbal. Reed never used the voice of amateurs or children in his films. Had her voice been used, a French accent would have been obvious. A heavily publicized kissing scene in the movie lasted 112 seconds. This "marathon kiss" was the subject of a Life magazine article which included the photo of Kerima on the cover. This scene was used in advertising to entice people to see the film. It was considered "shocking" to some critics and "met with difficulty" by American censors.
Kerima was active in film throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, working with Italian and American directors including Joseph Mankiewicz and Howard Hawks. Her last known work were minor parts in 1972, the last being a bellydancer in one episode of The Adventurer, a British TV series.
To create more publicity for Kerima and the movie Outcast, an exotic-island-girl image consistent with her role was created by the film's executive producer, Alexander Korda. He claimed she was born in Algeria. She is listed as Algerian in many places such as the Internet Movie Data Base and Fandango. One blog cites her as rare "evidence of north African stars in Hollywood during the 1950s." Another chose her in 2011 to represent Algeria in a list of sexy or otherwise noteworthy women from over 190 different countries. A search of birth records in Algerian newspapers was conducted around 2006 without locating any documentation of her birth. Her husband Guy Hamilton, an assistant director of Outcast, was then contacted and asked about Kerima's background. He confirmed that she was born in France to French parents, is a French citizen, and that Korda created the name Kerima and the associated persona of an exotic Javanese native to promote the movie. Another source claims her real name was Miriam, but instead of having her study medicine, she was "selling jewellery in the South of France".
Her exotic looks did enable her to play various different nationalities, including an Egyptian in Land of the Pharaohs, a Vietnamese woman in The Quiet American and even a "she-wolf" in the Italian horror film La Lupa. In addition to Algerian, she has also been described as "a beautiful Pakistani actress", as well as Italian, Indonesian, and Tunisian.
She was born in Toulouse, France to French parents. She studied medicine before finding success in acting. "Kerima" is a stage name created at the time of her first role when she was known as Miriam Charrière, a non-professional actress. She was "discovered" in Paris by the director of Outcast of the Islands, Carol Reed. By age 23, she was fluent in French, Spanish, and Italian.
Kerima was first married in 1953 to Greek actor Alexis Revidis. They were secretly married in Rome in January, but did not publicize the marriage until October. They were later divorced. Kerima was married to Guy Hamilton, who was an assistant director for Outcast of the Islands, after they met again in Rome many years after the filming of Outcast. They lived in a villa in Andratx on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca from the mid-1970s for at least the next 30 years. Hamilton died in April 2016.
Kerima was the subject of the following magazine covers:
- Aissa in Outcast of the Islands, 1951
- The 'She-Wolf' in La lupa (She Wolf), 1953
- Rosario in The Ship of Condemned Women, 1953
- Lola in Fatal Desire (Cavalleria Rusticana), 1953
- Madalena in Tom Toms of Mayumba (Tam Tam Mayumbe) or Native Drums (Mondo Keazunt), 1955
- Queen Nailla in Land of the Pharaohs, 1955
- Lola in I am the Scarlet Pimpernel (Io sono la primula rossa), 1955
- Carola in Goubbiah, My Love, (Goubbiah, mon amour), (Kiss of Fire), 1956
- Phuong's Sister (Miss Hel) in The Quiet American, 1958
- The Warrior and the Slave Girl (La Rivolta dei gladiatori), 1958
- Carmen Herrera in World of Miracles (Il Mondo dei Miracoli), 1959
- Maya in The Night of the Great Attack (La notte del grande assalto), 1959
- Virginia Toriello in Jessica, 1962
- Unnamed girl in The Love Box, 1972
- Belly dancer in The Adventurer, 1972 (TV series)
- "Guy Hamilton, film director – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. April 21, 2016. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
- "Film / Kerima: Reed sucht die Erhabene" [Film / Kerima: Reed explores the sublime]. Der Spiegel (in German) (4). January 24, 1951. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- Moore, Gene M. (2006). Conrad on Film. Cambridge University Press. pp. 107–110. ISBN 978-0-52155-448-0.
- Hare, William (2003). Early Film Noir: Greed, Lust and Murder Hollywood Style. McFarland & Company Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-78641-629-5.
- Ramona (May 26, 2012). "The Occidental Dancer Kerima Picture Special". Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- "Asia's The Beautiful Women Alive Atlas". Funnywebpark blog. January 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- Dupeyrot, Gerald (December 2011). "Kerima, L'Algéroise Qui N'Existait Pas" [Kerima, The Algerian Does Not Exist] (in French). Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- Morley, Annabel (2013). The Icing on the Cake. Australia: Jane Curry Publishing. ISBN 978-1-92219-074-1.
- Warner, Tom (26 August 2008). "Graham & Joe & Trev & Carol: Trevor Howard's Brit Lit Films". Accelerated Decrepitude. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- Moss, Robert F. (1987). The films of Carol Reed. London: Macmillan. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-33337-449-8.
- Craig, Ann (June 10, 1952). "There has to be a Man for the 112-second Kiss". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh.
- Baxter, Katherine Isobel (February 6, 2013). "Outcast of the Islands". British Universities Film & Video Council. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- "Kerima Weds In Secret". Diomedia.com. October 10, 1953. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- "Bond director Guy Hamilton dies aged 93". BBC News Online. April 21, 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- Sweet, Matthew (June 6, 2002). "Guy Hamilton: Larks and lady-killers". The Independent. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- "Life Covers #800-849". Cover Browser.
- ""Tempo"_7 (Italian Magazine) Beauty list". listal.com. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
- Crowther, Bosley (February 6, 1958). "'The Quiet American'; Mankiewicz Version of Novel by Greene". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2016.