“What a subject: her nose is too big, her mouth is too big, she has the composites of all the wrong things, but put them all together and pow! All the natural mistakes of beauty fall together to create a magnificent accident.” — Rex Reed on Sophia Loren, review, Oct. 23, 1968. (source)
Yes, some actors manage to have a great stage or screen presence. There’s more to them than just good looks. Sophia Loren was one such. In an Italian movie titled “A Special Day” set in the 1940s, Sophia Loren stars opposite another great actor Marcello Mastroianni ( she went on to act in 40 movies with him totally). The movie is black & white, is entirely shot in one building, and Sophia Loren wears the same dress throughout the film. Yet, she leaves you captivated in the end.
That’s why I read this recent interview with her in Vanity Fair, with interest. By way of preamble the interviewer writes:
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Sophia Loren walking. Bare-legged and pregnant on the stony streets of Naples in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow or walking through the war-ravaged Italian countryside while balancing a suitcase on her head in Two Women. “It’s like watching all of Italy walking—there’s the Tower of Pisa, here’s the Pitti Palace, there’s the Uffizi … the gondolas of Venice,” Roberto Benigni rhapsodized for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tribute to Loren last May.
Loren’s is perhaps the most famous walk in the history of movies; you can see it as early as 1954 in The Gold of Naples: a languorous walk through rain-soaked streets in which she exults in the movement and the feel of wet fabric clinging to her skin as the men around her look on in wonder. They still do.