20 Iconic Pics from the Venice Film Festival
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Set Sail1 of 22
By Brienne Walsh
To celebrate the opening of the 70th Venice Film Festival on August 28, we're taking a gondola ride back in time. Here, our 20 favorite black-and-white moments from the event's early history.
An American in Venice2 of 22
Although the Venice Film Festival has been held annually since 1935, it flew under the radar for many years after World War II broke out in Europe. It was revived in 1945 when American star Gene Tierney teamed up with the French director Jean Renoir to put together a program of screenings.
Wright Idea3 of 22
In 1950, African-American writer Richard Wright made an appearance at the festival for the screening of the film Native Son, which he both starred in, and adapted from his original novel.
Muscle Beach4 of 22
A bearded and brawny Kirk Douglas cemented his image as a heartthrob when he showed up at the Venice Film Festival in 1953 with a roving eye and a tiny Speedo.
Sunny Side5 of 22
In 1952, French beauty Anouk Aimée, just 20 at the time, enjoyed Venice's warm weather.
Balancing Act6 of 22
Silent screen legend Gloria Swanson made quite a statement, dressed as an Indian princess for a costume party at the festival in 1954. The 55-year-old actress made a splash by posing on a pedestal with a champagne glass perched on her head.
The Artist's Way7 of 22
Later in life, Gina Lollobrigida was known as a sculptor and photographer, but in 1956, the Italian actress was considered to be one of the sexiest women in the world. Here, she greets her fans from the terrace of her hotel room.
Bel Canto8 of 22
By 1956, the world-famous soprano Maria Callas had lost a lot of weight, which was widely considered to have damaged the power of her voice—still, she was a magnet for attention at any party she attended.
Lovely Lady9 of 22
Jeanne Moreau, whom the tabloids called "The New Bardot," arrived at the festival in 1958 to promote her film, The Lovers, directed by Louis Malle.
Director's Cut10 of 22
Renowned Austrian filmmaker Otto Preminger, who was in Venice to screen his film Anatomy of a Murder in 1958, was one of many Hollywood legends enthralled by the stray cats that wandered around Venice.
Trophy Wife11 of 22
In 1958, Italian bombshell Sophia Loren won the award for best actress in the festival for the role she played as a mobster's wife in The Black Orchid.
Blond Ambition12 of 22
In 1958, Brigitte Bardot appeared at the festival with then-boyfriend, French singer Sacha Distel, best known for his Academy Award-winning rendition of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head."
Sitting Pretty13 of 22
That same year, Bardot took a breather at a party organized by Raoul Levy, the producer of And God Created Woman.
Performance Art14 of 22
Surrealist artist Salvador Dali performed alongside French dancer Ludmilla Tcherina in a clown costume in 1961.
Break Time15 of 22
Julie Christie and Tom Courtenay would go on to become household names after appearing in Dr. Zhivago, but at the Venice Film Festival in 1963, they were just two actors sharing a cigarette break in a hotel lobby.
Coupled Off16 of 22
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton looked the picture of love at the festival in '63—they had begun their romance while filming Cleopatra earlier that year.
London Rain17 of 22
British actress Claire Bloom and her husband Rod Steiger didn't let a little wet weather dampen their mood, as they posed in front of gondolas on the Grand Canal in 1963.
Curves Ahead18 of 22
Italian sex symbol Claudia Cardinale made her first big appearance at the Venice Film Festival in 1957. By 1965, the voluptuous actress was a regular on the scene.
A Family Affair19 of 22
Jane Fonda traveled to Venice with her brother Peter Fonda to promote The Game Is Over, a 1966 film based on a book by Emile Zola that also starred French hipster Roger Vadim.
United Nations20 of 22
France's Anna Karina and Italy's Marcello Mastroianni look less co-stars and more real-life couple posing for a photograph to promote their film Lo Straniero in 1967.
Need for Speed21 of 22
Sean Connery channeled his most famous character, James Bond, at the helm of a speedboat on the Grand Canal in 1967.
French Dressing22 of 22
Although Catherine Deneuve plays a French housewife who works as a prostitute in Belle du Jour, she looked every bit the lady at the 1967 premiere of the movie.
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