Pier Angeli had been a significant screen presence in the 1950s. She co-starred and hobnobbed with all of the A-Listers. By the end of the sixties, however, Hollywood had abandoned her. Near the end of her life, Pier tried to resuscitate her career by appearing in some low-rent projects to demonstrate that she was still working. This was one of those projects.
There are reports that she wanted to keep this film out of distribution, and it’s easy to understand why she felt that way. This project had to do her career more harm than good. Not only is it a bad film, but everything about her appearance in it is disappointing. First, she looked older than her 37 years; second, her overacting in one sequence was embarrassing; and finally, Addio was a cheapjack piece of erotica which should theoretically have been far below her pay grade. After all, this is a woman who had a torrid affair with the legendary James Dean, was engaged to Kirk Douglas, married Vic Damone, and had once co-starred with Paul Freakin’ Newman.
Unfortunately, Addio Alexandra was not the low point of her career desperation. That would be Octaman. Did her despondency about the state of her life and career lead to suicide? There is a lot of discussion about that in another thread. She did die of a drug overdose. Was it an accidental overdose? Suicide? An error by her physician? We will never know for sure. We can’t conclude that she took her own life, but neither can we rule out the possibility, given her emotional state in those final years.
The copy of Addio, Alexandra that I managed to score is so bad that I had to keep switching from software to software, trying to work around all the glitches and dead spots in the DVD. I did finally come up with five crappy film clips that were the basis of the captures below.
Pier Angeli (billed under her real name, Anna Maria Pierangeli)
Additional pics of Descombes from articles about the film:
Pier and Collette in publicity stills. That scene is in the film (see the final capture of the Pier Angeli series above), but these particular shots must have been posed on the set. Pier is the one with glasses!
There are better versions of the film online, but without the nude scenes. Gallery here, clip below.
For more info and a vast number of pictures, here is a very comprehensive web site dedicated exclusively to Pier Angeli.