Rich in the telling is Sophia Loren’s biography, as she takes us on a journey through her life which is as fascinating and intriguing as the lady herself. Told with warmth and love, this is a surprisingly good biography, filled with interest and retaining the interest.
Triggered by a box of mementoes and photographs she shares with us the happy, sad, tragic and joyful times of her life which have been as colourful and interesting as any screen character she has ever portrayed.
Indeed, some of the characters have been given life through her own struggles growing up during the depression years before World War 2, during the war and then the rebuilding phase which followed, where life was better, but still far from good or easy.
Born to an Italian noble father and a young beautiful young woman struggling to become and actress, she was sickly child, bought up by her beloved Nona, Mamma Luisa, in the small town of Pozzuoli.
As she grew she became known as Sophie ‘toothpick’ as she was so terribly thin, but the makings of what was to become her particular beauty was already forming. Entering several beauty pageants she somehow always managed to come second and any screen test she took always found her being told she was to thin, her figure was too full and so it continued.
She eventually managed to get some small parts in the re-merging world of Italian film making, finally catching the eye of legendary director Vittoria De Sica and then Carlo Ponti ,whom she later married, after many years of overcoming prejudice and the Italian legal system. The rest is history, as they say.
Each of the chapters is written about one of the treasures found in the box, ranging from her work with so many of the Hollywood legends in Brando, Burton, Newman, Peck, Heston, Grant and so many more, to her great and lifelong friendship with fellow Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni.
She looks back over her life from her vantage point of grandmother to her four grandchildren, and gives thanks for the life that has been hers to live.
She tells of being incarcerated in an Italian goal for supposed tax evasion, which later proved to be a false accusation, and the effect that had on her at the time; her sorrow at miscarrying her first two pregnancies and the joy when she gave birth to her son Carlo and second child Eduardo. She shares her joy as her children grow and become adults to eventually choosing their careers, marrying and establishing their own families.
There are no frills, just the reminisces and memories of a woman who had to overcome great odds, has worked incredibly hard to achieve her place in what is now movie history, in a way that has seen her loved and respected by all who know or knew her.
Her career spans from 1950 when she was in Bluebeards Six Wives to her latest role in Human Voice filmed in 2014, directed by her son Eduardo Conti.
A touching finale to her chapter on Voices is the segment ‘Once Upon A Time’ based on a list she wrote for herself when she was goal setting so many years before, with the end words being, ‘There will always be a once upon a time for every little girl who looks at the world with big eyes and a lust for life’.
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster UK|