Claudia Cardinale, Young Italian Beauty Of American Westerns, Then And Now

By | August 29, 2019

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Left: Claudia Cardinale on the set of 'The Adventures of Gerard' at Cinecitta Studios in 1968. Right: Cardinale in '8 1/2' (1963). Sources: Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images; IMDB

With her turn in Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963), Claudia Cardinale secured a place in film history -- it's acclaimed as one of the best films of all time, and arguably Fellini's masterpiece, and she played opposite Marcello Mastroianni, the ultimate Italian leading man. She made some memorable English-language movies as well, including The Pink Panther (1963) and the westerns The Professionals (1966) and Once Upon A Time In The West (1968) -- but like many European actresses of her day, she had an on-and-off relationship with Hollywood. 

How Did Claudia Cardinale Compare With Her Contemporaries?

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Claudia Cardinale and Brigitte Bardot in 'Frenchie King,' 1971. Source: IMDB

In terms of celebrity, Cardinale has been described as a cut below the uber-famous leading Italian sirens, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, although some would say she made better movies than those two. She was also compared to Brigitte Bardot, with whom she would end up making one film (the 1971 French western Frenchie King).