Pier Angeli in Addio, Alexandra (1969)

I finally managed to score a better copy of Addio, Alexandra, the film which contains almost all of Pier Angeli’s career nudity. It’s better, but still not good. The colors are so faded that it’s essentially in sepia-and-white. You would never know it fron this DVD, but this was a color film! On the other hand, the DVD is fairly clear, and better than what we had before.

Few people remember her today, but Pier Angeli had been a significant screen presence in the 1950s. She co-starred and hobnobbed with all of the A-Listers. 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.

During her marriage to Vic Damone, they appeared as guests on the June 17, 1956 episode of What’s My Line:

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.

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 debate. She did die of a drug overdose at 39. 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.

Pier Angeli (billed under her real name, Anna Maria Pierangeli)

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Colette Descombes in the same film

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I took a shot at trying to restore what the film should have looked like:

Pier Angeli


Collette Descombes


Here are some additional pics of Descombes from articles about the film:

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And here are Pier and Collette in publicity stills. That scene is in the film (see the Pier Angeli series above), but these particular shots must have been posed on the set. Pier is the one with glasses!

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The remainder of their careers:


Pier Angeli

… had a nip-slip in a 1970 film entitled in the Folds of the Flesh

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For more info and a vast number of (non-nude) pictures, here is a very comprehensive web site dedicated exclusively to Pier Angeli.

Collette Descombes

… did an excellent full-body nude scene in La Ragazzina (1974). I have this on DVD and will get to it when I have the time. (Let’s face it. Nobody is psyched for some Colette Descombes nudity from 50 years ago.) Here are some low-quality teasers:

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7 thoughts on “Pier Angeli in Addio, Alexandra (1969)

  1. Oh wow. I just checked Angeli’s wikipedia page and found out her fraternal twin sister Marisa Pavan died last month at the age of 91! Pavan was married to her husband Jean-Pierre Aumont for longer than Angeli was alive.

    Very different lives.

  2. I had always read that this relationship with James Dean was a Hollywood set up. That JD was know for being gay and Hollywood wanted their star accepted by Middle America. It was for show. 30 odd years ago when I was living in NorCal, I was always intrigued buy the JD story. I drove Hwy 46 and the spot where he died ALL the time when I would go south to visit my folks. Back then I harbored a dream of writing short stories and fiction novels…JD being a linking character throughout the stories. But alas life took a different turn for me. But that is what I gleaned from the research I put in back then…

    1. I think the consensus among his biographers is that his sexuality was complicated. He seems to have had gay relationships, but not exclusively.

      From Wikipedia:

      Rebel director Nicholas Ray is on record saying,“James Dean was not straight, he was not gay, he was bisexual. That seems to confuse people, or they just ignore the facts. Some … most … will say he was heterosexual, and there’s some proof for that, apart from the usual dating of actresses his age. Others will say no, he was gay, and there’s some proof for that too, keeping in mind that it’s always tougher to get that kind of proof. But Jimmy himself said more than once that he swung both ways, so why all the mystery or confusion?”

      Martin Landau, a good friend of Dean’s whom he met at the Actors Studio, stated, “A lot of people say Jimmy was hell-bent on killing himself. Not true. A lot of gay guys make him out to be gay. Not true. When Jimmy and I were together we’d talk about girls. Actors and girls. We were kids in our early 20s. That was what we aspired to.”[

    2. “The current intersection is now marked as the James Dean Memorial Junction. The junction was officially dedicated as the James Dean Memorial Junction on September 30, 2005 as part of the State of California’s official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dean’s death. However, this is not the actual intersection where the accident occurred, contrary to popular belief. The accident scene is about 100 feet to the south of the current intersection, where the road used to be.”

    3. Always hard to know how much of these stories are true. I’d had always heard a lot about David Bowie being bisexual, but have found very little evidence of that. Actually, he seems quite the poon hound preferring a lot of young girls back at the height of his fame. His girlfriend in those early years was very bisexual if not outright gay. She enjoyed the groupies as much as Bowie. She pushed the androgyny look on him and was very into the gay scene. Most of the bi stories about Bowie came from her when she was trying to sell her books. The media always seems very willing to publicize these kinds of rumors and sometimes even just put them out as facts.

      1. As I have mentioned here before, I am a huge fan of What’s My Line (WML). Part of the reason I love the show so much is because of what can be learned from watching it. I first started recording and watching WML when I had insomnia one night and caught a 3 am airing of the show on the Game Show Network. I was just flipping around and stopped on the show when I heard Bennet Cerf and John Daly talking about the (then) recent launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union. I found that fascinating and, as a result, set my DVR to record the show. Once I had watched a few episodes, I discovered just how awesome the show was, largely because of how enjoyable the panel (usually made up of Bennet Cerf, Arlene Francis, and Dorothy Kilgallen) and host John Daly were. But also because of insights into public attitudes of the 1950s and 60.

        I had never heard of Pier Angeli until seeing her on WML in the mystery guest segment Scoopy included in this post. But more relevant to the discussion of celebrity sexuality was the appearance of Liberace. Even as a kid in the 1970s, it was as obvious to me that Liberace was gay as it was that Paul Lynde was. But I had no idea that Liberace was apparently as much a teen heartthrob in the 1950s as David Cassidy was in the 1970s. Arlene Francis immediately guesses who he is once it is elicited that he is a band because of the screams of the girls in the audience when he signed in.

        By the way, if you watch the beginning of the episode, you can watch the blindfolded panel try to guess Frank Lloyd Wright’s occupation. Because the show was so popular (it aired live on Sunday nights after The Ed Sullivan Show from 1950 until 1967. Other episodes featured people like Eleanor Roosevelt and the journalist son of Winston Churchill. It is my understanding that because Goodson-Todman Productions didn’t renew the copyrights, all of the 763 surviving episodes are in the public domain and can be found on YouTube.

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