Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Shock for Daria

This watercolor is an original piece of artwork by Mario Bava in the personal collection of actress Daria Nicolodi. It was written about in this blog by Alberto Farina, in an entry dated February 27, 2011, whose text translates as follows:

"It has been over a year since I last updated this blog - due to work, laziness, and the infernal temptations of microblogging on Facebook. While I can't promise to be more prolific, I do at least aspire to do better and, as a pretext, here is a scan of an old color photocopy.

"The original belongs to Daria Nicolodi, who allowed me to photocopy I interviewed her about OPERA for MAD MOVIES. The editor Jean-Pierre Putters decided not to publish it, and I don't believe it has appeared anywhere before now. It is a caricature of Nicolodi in SHOCK, the last film Bava made for the cinema. The boy is the son of the protagonist and, in the drawing, the actress suffers simultaneously all the tortures that are inflicted upon her in the story.

"The drawing hints at a private-joke between the actress and Bava himself: according to Nicolodi, the film's producer Turi Vasile didn't consider her the ideal choice for the main character, and made tests of her trying-oout dozens of hairstyles, while Bava was willing to leave the choice to her. Eventually, Vasile requested that the actress be dubbed, considering her real voice too deep and masculine. On the original drawing, the cartoon that Nicolodi is holding is cut out on three sides, so that it opens like a flap. Lifting it, you see written inside "Mamma, I am going to dub you."

This is an allusion, of course, to the boy's threat in the film itself: "Mamma, I am going to kill you" - which means that this cartoon embodies Bava's humorous yet apologetic way of telling his star that his producer was placing him in the uncomfortable position of murdering her performance. 

Thanks to Joseph Russio (a young American cameraman of conspicuous talent) for bringing this blog entry to my attention.