Happy birthday, Sophia Loren! Out September 26 from Running Press and TCM, Sophia Loren: Movie Star Italian Style by Cindy De La Hoz is an image-laden coffee-table-style book about the woman Charlton Heston referred to as “the only honest-to-God international movie star.” The book starts with a brief biography of Loren, then goes into capsule summaries and nuggets of behind-the-scenes info for nearly all of her credited roles, with special emphasis on her Italian productions. This comprehensive listing of her films will likely spur further viewing for many readers.
Ava Gardner — Grabtown, North Carolina’s Christmas gift to the world — was probably most familiar to me as one of the quintessential femmes fatales, Kitty in The Killers, and as the determined, loyal woman who saved her husband Frank Sinatra’s career by getting him the role of Maggio in From Here To Eternity. She was certainly the former, and she may have been the latter (she certainly tried), but she was much more than these things. My concept of Gardner has been considerably expanded, by a new biography of the star, Ava: A Life in Movies.