Rosalba Neri

Rosalba Neri (born 19 June 1939 in Forlì, Italy) is a retired Italian actress.

Biography

Born in Forlì, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, Neri was regarded for her beauty even in youth, winning a beauty pageant when she was still young. Eventually pursuing an acting career, she attended the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Center for Experimental Cinematography) in Rome. She also received an offer to attend the Actors Studio in the United States, but did not accept.[1][2]

Early film career

She made her film debut in 1958 in the film Mogli pericolose. She is uncredited in this comedy which was directed by Luigi Comencini. Her second part was in Roberto Rosselini's prize-winning drama Era notte a Roma in 1960. Many sources list some earlier films for her, but this is a confusion with another Italian actress, the very similarly named Rosalina Neri.

Historical roles

In 1960, she appeared in two sword and sandal films set in the Ancient world. The first was Il Sepolcro dei Re (AKA Cleopatra's Daughter or The Tomb of the King). This film tells the story of Nemorat, an Egyptian pharaoh who was instrumental in the creation of the pyramids of Giza due to the intrigues surrounding his death and entombment.

The second was Raoul Walsh's Esther and the King (1960), starring Joan Collins as the Biblical Jewish Queen. Rosalba played Keresh and was assassinated by someone who mistook her for the Queen. Because of her dark, sultry beauty, Rosalba was often a natural fit to play certain legendary characters.

She was Ramses' intended bride in the Hercules Adventure, Il leone di Tebe (The Lion of Thebes) in 1966. She played Delilah, the Biblical beauty who was the downfall of the Old Testament hero, Samson, in I Grandi Condottieri (The Great Guides) (1965). She returned to the genre in The Arena (1974).

Although starring roles were few and far between for Rosalba, she worked steadily throughout the 1960s/70s in supporting and sometimes, nondescript roles, such as her turn as a harem girl in El Cid (1961).

Spy films

Rosalba had quite a few roles in Eurospy intrigue films, often playing a less than saintly character. She was Faddja in 1965's Superseven Chiama Cairo (Superseven Calls on Cairo), one of the dangerous women that the spy, a James Bond-like character, comes into contact with. Also in 1965, she appeared in Due Mafiosi contro Goldginger (Two Mafiosi Against Goldfinger).

In 1967, she was Amalia in Password: Uccidete Agente Gordon (Password: Kill Agent Gordon). The same year she played her first part for Spanish director Jess Franco in a spy film send-up done in comic book style, Lucky, the Inscrutable, starring Ray Danton. In the following year she appeared in OSS 117 - Double Agent (1968).

Spaghetti Westerns

She followed the trends of European cinema by appearing in several spaghetti westerns such as Johnny Yuma (1966), Arizona Colt (1966), Long Days of Hate (1968), A Long Ride from Hell (1968), The Reward's Yours... The Man's Mine (1969), Arizona Colt Returns (1971), Drummer of Vengeance (1971) and Man Called Invincible (1973).

Erotic horror films

Neri, the bombshell, was also much in demand for erotic giallo thrillers, horror, and sexploitation films. She was in Jess Franco's box office hit 99 Women (1969), one of the first women in prison films, and Top Sensation (The Seducers) (1969) opposite Edwige Fenech. In 1972 she played Farley Granger's wife in Amuck!. Granger plays a wealthy author who hires a beautiful secretary (Barbara Bouchet) and engages in kinky sex games with her and his wife. Also in 1972, Neri played the lead role in the erotic horror flick Lucifera: Demon Lover.

Bouchet and Neri would team up in 1972 in another movie combining sex with horror, Casa d’appuntamento (French Sex Murders). A jewel thief is accused of murdering a prostitute but is decapitated in a motorcycle accident prior to the trial. When those involved in the trial start dying off, everyone wonders if the dead man has come back to exact his revenge.

Perhaps Neri's best-known films are from the horror genre. She played Tania Frankenstein, the daughter of the monster's creator, in 1971's Lady Frankenstein. Tania was willing to take her father's work to new – and frightening – levels. It is considered a B movie classic.

In 1972, she starred in The Devil's Wedding Night as Lady Dracula, a vampire who uses Dracula's ring to lure young virgins to her home so she can murder them and bathe in their blood (à la the medieval Countess Elizabeth Báthory). In Italy it was released as Il Plenilunio dell Vergini (Full Moon of the Virgins).

Retirement

Neri would appear in a few more films such as: No Way Out (1973), Loving Cousins (1974), Blood River (1974) and Il pomicione (1976), which is her last credited film. In 1985 she did appear in the Italian miniseries Olga e I suoi figli (Olga and her children).

Selected filmography

References

  1. Rosalba Neri - Biography
  2. "Tribute To Rosalba Neri - Biography". Rosalbaneri.com. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
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