Sophia Loren. This Italian actress is an icon! She’s been in numerous period films, and while the costumes are often very much of their era, she still manages to be 1000% fabulous. Let’s run her frock flick resume!
La Favorita (1952)
An adaptation of an opera, set in 14th century Spain. Loren plays Leonara, favorite of Castilian King Alfonso XI.
An adaptation of the famous opera. Loren plays enslaved Ethiopian princess Aida — in full black face. Sigh. We’ve said it before and we’ll keep on saying it: black (/brown/yellow/red/etc.) face isn’t okay now, but films of previous eras don’t get a pass. IT WASN’T OKAY THEN EITHER.
Miseria e nobiltà (1954)
A comedy set in late 19th century Naples. Loren plays a dancer being courted by a rich count (played by Totò, one of the most famous actors in Italian cinema).
A biopic about Attila the Hun, set in 450-52 BCE. Loren plays Justa Grata Honoria, sister of the emperor and supporter of Attila.
Neapolitan Carousel (1954)
A musical comedy in which a storyteller wanders Naples telling stories from its history. Loren plays “Sisina.”
Two Nights with Cleopatra (1954)
A comedy in which Loren plays Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra and one of her ladies-in-waiting who is basically identical.
The Miller’s Beautiful Wife (1955)
Another comedy, set in 1860 Naples. The governor tries to seduce the beautiful wife (Loren) of the local miller.
The Pride and the Passion (1957)
Okay, based on the photos, this one KILLS ME. It’s allegedly set in the Napoleonic Wars, and please just take a look. Cary Grant plays a British navy officer; Frank Sinatra (ha!) plays “Miguel,” a Spanish soldier; and the two guys fight over “Juana,” played by Loren.
Desire Under the Elms (1958)
I’m unclear exactly which era this takes place in, but basically a New England farmer who has worked two wives to death marries an Italian woman (Loren) who then has an affair with her husband’s son. Tragedy ensues!
A Breath of Scandal (1960)
An Austrian princess (Loren) falls in love with an American mining engineer in the early 20th century.
Heller in Pink Tights (1960)
A Western with costumes designed by Edith Head. Loren plays Angela, part of a theatrical troupe in 1880 Wyoming.
El Cid (1960)
An epic historical drama loosely based on the life of the 11th-century Castilian warlord Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called “El Cid.” Loren plays his wife, Doña Ximena.
An adaptation of a French play about real-life laundress-turned-duchess known for her uncouth behavior at Napoleon’s court.
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
Loren plays Lucilla, daughter of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius who joined her adoptive brother Lucius Verus in revolting against another brother, Emperor Commodus.
Lady L (1965)
A comedy in which an elderly Corsican lady (Loren) recalls past loves, including an anarchist and an English aristocrat.
More Than a Miracle (1967)
A fairy tale-type story in which a village girl (Loren) and a Spanish prince (Omar Sharif) fall in love. I THINK it’s set in the 17th century?
Man of La Mancha (1972)
An adaptation of the musical based on the story of Don Quixote. Loren plays Dulcinea/Aldonza. I’ve shockingly never seen it, so that’s all I can tell you!
A Special Day (1977)
In 1938, while Hitler visits Mussolini, a pro-fascist woman (Loren) gets to know her anti-fascist neighbor.
Blood Feud (1978)
A thriller set in 1922.
Brass Target (1978)
A suspense film set in just after the end of World War II. Loren gets involved with army officers trying to stop a conspiracy to kill Gen. Patton.
Saturday, Sunday and Monday (1990)
All I can tell is that it’s about a family in turn-of-the-century Italy.
A mother (Loren) in 1940 Algeria travels to Paris to find her husband.
Francesca e Nunziata (2001)
In early 20th century Italy, a rich woman (Loren) adopts a girl who later falls in love with her adoptive brother.
What’s your favorite of Sophia Loren’s historical roles?