18 August, 2010

AUGUST 18. 1970-The End or The Beginning?

Soledad Miranda died 40 years ago today, on August 18. 1970 in a Lisbon hospital, the result of injuries sustained as the result of an automobile accident on the highway between Lisbon and Estoril.*  Her last film appearance was in Jess Franco's THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA. She had made VAMPYROS LESBOS a few months earlier with Franco and German producer Artur Brauner was preparing to heavily promote her in future films as a result of that film's success. She was set to sign a contract with the high powered producer on the day of her fatal accident. 

In a way August 18. 1970 can be viewed as the beginning of the kind of immortality certain movie stars achieve after dying suddenly and young (she was 27), James Dean and Marilyn Monroe being the most obvious examples. Although she had been in films since 1960 and had appeared in several prominent international productions, the 8 films she made with director Franco (usually as Susann Korda) during the last year of her life are the ones which have attracted the most interest, even though two SEX CHARADE and JULIETTE are apparently incomplete/lost. 

I wanted to write more about her career and legacy today but working overtime intervened. One of the questions I'll be returning to is of her seemingly incomplete performance in THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA, despite the fact that many claim she had finished her work. I glimpsed some interesting CCC documentation about 16 years ago which I was not able to copy and have not been able to retrieve since. But I'll keep trying. Watch the film again, closely. Of course, any film featuring Soledad Miranda is worth watching closely. 

*She appeared with her husband in a 23m documentary film (Un día en Lisboa) about the travels of a young couple, which was shot on this same stretch of highway in 1964. This was short subject apparently made to promote tourism. It was directed by the prolific Spanish DP, Alfonso Nieva (THE BUTCHER OF BINBROOK/NECROMANIAC/GRAVEYARD OF HORROR among others).  I'm hoping to see it at some point and review it here. 

Thanks to Amy Brown.


dfordoom said...

I'll have to rewatch The Devil Came from Akasava as well. Which is OK since it's a fun little movie.

firirinabe said...

I haven't seen AKASAVA in years. I must give it another go.

Was Soledad's footage from Nightmares Come at Night originally from another movie as it seems cut off from the rest of the film?

Robert Monell said...

Was Soledad's footage from Nightmares Come at Night originally from another movie as it seems cut off from the rest of the film?

Good question: NIGHTMARES was shot between THE BLOODY JUDGE and EL CONDE DRACULA, probably in Sept. 1969, at least the bulk of the shoot featuring Diana Lorys and the featured players. An educated guess is that the SM scenes were shot as a separate unit at a different time since you don't see her or the other actor interact with the rest of the cast. The house where it was filmed looks like it might be in a different country (not Spain). Since the other actor is Andre Montchall/Monales, who was in EUGINIE DE SADE with SM in January 1970 this may have been lensed during the shoot of that as an afterthought and then edited into the NIGHTMARES footage already filmed months earlier. I don't think NIGHTMARES was released until later in 1970 so it makes sense that Franco would add more footage with his female star whom he was trying to promote.

Voodoo Rob's Hellbilly Hollywood said...

Awesome post. She has been my number two favorite actress for many years. My first movie review was for vampyros lesbos!

I have been on a search for the soundtrack picture disc for years with NO luck at all.