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The Belle Starr Story
The Belle Starr Story is considered to be the »only feminist Spaghetti Western ever directed by a woman« and, according to Lina Wertmüller, »something that doesn’t happen twice, a one-off film«. The story of its production is like a worst-case scenario. After the director abandons the team, the leading actress persuades a director friend to join the set in Yugoslavia. She takes on the job under a pseudonym and tries to rescue what is left to rescue. But that isn’t the end of it: the main actor does a runner too…
The Belle Starr Story is a remarkable B-movie with a somewhat incongruous subplot, hasty zooms and an obsessive use of close-ups of the heroine. Elsa Martinelli plays Belle Starr, the freckle-faced, red-headed gun woman. Appearing in a magnificent tight black leather suit with sombrero, Colt and cigar, she sings No Time for Love, leads her gang on horseback across the prairie and rescues her friend from the gallows. (One of the central themes of the film is sexual violence. For one moment, the film even looks like it’s going to break the narrative taboo of patricide.)
It was only much later that Lina Wertmüller professed authorship of The Belle Starr Story.
Born 1928 in Rome where she studied at the Accademia d’arte drammatica from 1945 to 1951. After graduating, she founded the theatre group Harlequin, wrote her first plays and went on tour. Back in Rome, she worked as a journalist, actress, author and set designer. She came to film through her close friendship with Marcello Mastroianni and his wife Flora Carabella, who in 1963 brought her in as assistant director on the set of Federico Fellini’s 81⁄2. The following year saw her directorial debut with The Lizards. Her breakthrough came in 1972 with a series of four films with Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini cast in the title role. The last film of this series, Seven Beauties, which came out in 1975, was nominated for four Oscars and was an international hit.
Filme von Lina Wertmüller (Auswahl)
Metalmeccanico e parrucchiera in un turbine di sesso e di politica 1996 | Ninfa plebea 1996 | Lo speriamo che me la cavo 1992 | Il decimo clandestino 1989 | Un complicato intrigo di donne, vicoli e delitti 1986 | Pasqualino settebellezze 1976 | Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto 1974 | Film d’amore e d’anarchia, ovvero ›stamattina alle 10 in via dei Fiori nella nota casa di tolleranza‹ 1973 | Mimí metallurgico ferito nell’onore 1972 | Questa volta parliamo di uomini 1965 | I basilischi 1963