Celebrating The German Sex Kitten Elke Sommer!
Hollywood is filled with stories of Actresses who achieved fame in mainstream films, only to either fade away or end up in cult cinema – and that’s the story of Elke Sommer – she went from big Hollywood films to classic European cult cinema!
Elke Sommer’s Wild Career!
Elke Sommer gained fame in Hollywood, but became iconic thanks to a couple of European shockers.
As one website stated:
“This gorgeous Teutonic Temptress was one of Hollywood’s most captivating imports of the 1960s!”
My “2022 Sex Kitten Countdown” takes a look at the career of Berlin-born Elke Sommer, with what was called “her trademark pouty lips, high cheekbones and sky-high bouffant hairdos!”
Sommer got her start by winning the beauty contest “Miss Viareggio Turistica” while on vacation in Italy, and she caught the attention of renowned Film Director Vittorio De Sica…that led to a career with more than 100 films – oh, and she also caught the attention of men’s magazines as well, including Playboy…
Sommer appeared in the 1963 thriller, “The Prize”, for which she won a “Best Newcomer” Golden Globe Award, and followed it up with the 1964 smash hit “A Shot in the Dark”, where she proved a shady and sexy foil to Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clousseau.
She went on to appear in films with Paul Newman, James Garner and more.
But by the end of the 60’s and after a string of box office failures in the US, Sommer returned to Europe and starred in some classic 70’s cult films…including two Italian horror movies directed by Mario Bava that have now gone on to become cult classics:
This 1972 shocker is widely available on-demand and blu-ray, and it’s a great thriller.
A young man, visiting the castle of a murderous ancestor in Austria, accidentally brings his dead relative back to life – searching for new victims.
Check out the trailer:
Director Mario Bava made a number of great cult films like “Planet Of The Vampires” and “Hatchet For The Honeymoon”, and this shocker has a great cast!
Originally, Bava wanted Vincent Price to star in the production but he declined. Then Ray Milland was considered, but he was unable to travel to the shoot. Finally veteran actor Joseph Cotten was suggested and, to director Mario Bava’s surprise, accepted.
Next up was the 1973 thriller “Lisa and the Devil”, although it was re-released in 1975 as “The House of Exorcism” and added more footage of a demonic Elke, Linda Blair style: scenes of her spewing frogs, insects, green pea soup and a slew of cuss words!
Here is the trailer:
This was also directed by Mario Bava. A tourist spends the night in a derelict Spanish villa seemingly held in the supernatural grip of an eccentric butler, who resembles a depiction of the Devil she had seen on an ancient fresco.
Her male co-star Telly Savalas came up with the idea of his character Leandro frequently having a sucker in his mouth. Savalas had recently quit smoking and used the suckers as an alternative. The suckers would become a popular character trait on his American television series Kojak (1973) which started that same year.
Elke also appeared in 1974’s “Percy’s Progress”, which was released in the US as “It’s Not the Size That Counts!”
She also showed up in one of the British “Carry On” sex farces, “Carry on Behind” from 1975. As you can see, she began to take roles in sub-quality films, but it kept her busy for years…
Sommer had a great career, one of many European sex kitten who went from mainstream to cult films…here’s another example:
Ursual Andress was the first ever “Bond girl”, but she loved to pose nude, earning the nickname “Ursula UNDRESS!”
You can see more of her provocative career by clicking on my story here:
Need more proof about how Cult Movie Queens crossed between mainstream and exploitation?
Anita Ekberg was in this classic Fellini film, and then this one as well:
Yes, she was a “Killer Nun” too! Oh, and she loved to pose for provocative photos as well:
You can see all of her best work by clicking on my story here:
This hugely popular European Actress had a tragic life:
She was a fearless Actress who ended up leading a tragic life…see her story here:
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Let me know your favorite Elke Sommer movies!
Categories: 70's Films, Classic Horror, Cult Classics, Euro-Sleaze, Exploitation Films, Extreme Cinema, Grindhouse, Horror films, JRsploitation, Nudity, sex kittens, Sexploitation Films, Talent / Celebrites
Elke had a long career that made her very well known in Britain. Shame she never got to star in any really good films later though.
Best wishes, Pete.
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Yes Pete she faded into cult films after such a big start…thanks for the comment!
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Saw her a young age in A Shot in the Dark and fell in love.
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Yes, an iconic beauty indeed!
And apparently guessed starred in Season 3 Episode 1 of The Muppet Show!
Another great all time beauty that i still enjoy to this day. Although the critics snubbed this flick, Elke was outstanding in “The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz” especially in the scenes where she was escaping very “under clothed”. She was also great in “The Art of Love” with Dick Van Dyke. She was definitely Germany’s best export to America!