Blood and Sand
Movie Performances I Grew up With
Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren

Actor

When I was growing up in the ’40s and early ’50s, in order to escape the memories of war, the bombings, the hunger, the emotional exhaustion, I would take refuge into our movie theater in Pozzuoli. This was the place where I would dream of a better future. And the movies I would see were all from Hollywood. More than specific titles, it was the stars of the ’40s and ’50s that made me believe that the future was brighter than the dark past that we had gone through. I’m thinking of Rita Hayworth in Gilda, Tyrone Power in Blood and Sand, Fred Astaire in Blue Skies, even Greta Garbo in Ninotchka or Betty Grable in How to Marry a Millionaire. I wanted my life to be filled with this kind of romance, beauty, optimism. Everything was big and filled with possibilities! The sets were big, the close-ups were big, the song and dance numbers were big. These movies gave me a road map towards hope, towards what a life could look like if you dared to dream. 

The Oscar-winning actors new film, The Life Ahead, is now streaming on Netflix.

1

Gilda

1946

WHERE TO WATCH

Rita Hayworth had it all. As a young lady in Pozzuoli, I would marvel at how she moved, how she danced, how beautiful she was, but always in control of her destiny. When I met her one of the first times I came to Hollywood, I told her what an admirer I was and she was very gracious. I loved Gilda because Rita was strong and powerful in it and yet showed a lot of fragility.

WHERE TO WATCH
Gilda
1946
110 Mins | PG
A Buenos Aires casino owner hires a gambler who once had an affair with his alluring wife.


2

Ninotchka

1939

WHERE TO WATCH

When she was young, my mother won a nationwide Greta Garbo look-alike contest in Italy, so we would love to go to the movies and watch Garbo’s films as there was this connection between my mother and Mrs. Garbo. What I love about Ninotchka is how funny Garbo was. She was always so intense and serious and here she made us laugh. If Garbo could laugh, we could laugh too!

WHERE TO WATCH
Ninotchka
1939
110 Mins | U
A playboy (Melvyn Douglas) charms a Russian envoy (Greta Garbo) on business in Paris.


3

Blood and Sand

1941

WHERE TO WATCH

I’m not sure if it was the film I loved so much or just looking at Tyrone Power. He was so handsome and I would sit in our little movie theater and dream about him. It is one of the first films I saw in color. Our life was so tough, seeing the world through the bright hues of Technicolor made me hope there was this great big colorful world out there.

WHERE TO WATCH
Blood and Sand
1941
120 Mins | G
A matador (Tyrone Power) chooses between his wife (Linda Darnell) and mistress (Rita Hayworth).


4

Blue Skies

1946

I love Irving Berlin’s music, Fred Astaire’s moves, Bing Crosby’s voice. The tenderness and class of Crosby singing the title song to Joan Caulfield as they snuggle together underneath that blanket … Dreams, dreams, dreams. After the war, everything seemed possible and a film like Blue Skies (even the title) made us believe that the sky was the limit. 

WHERE TO WATCH
Blue Skies
1946
104 Mins
Ex-dancer (Fred Astaire) recalls rivaling singer (Bing Crosby) for dancer (Joan Caulfield).


5

How to Marry a Millionaire

1953

WHERE TO WATCH

I loved Betty Grable for her attitude and talent but there was something else about her that connected with me: Her mother had taken her to Hollywood when she was just a teenager to try to get her into films which is what my own mother did with me. I was 15 when she took me to Rome to see if we could make it in the movies. Who knows, maybe my mother was inspired by Betty’s mom. How to Marry a Millionaire was one of Grable’s last films but she shone as bright as ever in it. The light of true stars like Betty Grable never dims.

WHERE TO WATCH
How to Marry a Millionaire
1953
95 Mins | U
Gold diggers (Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable) share penthouse as man trap.


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