Cinema X Talks to Oswalt Kolle

Cinema X Talks to Oswalt Kolle

This interview was first published in Cinema X vol.1 no9 circa 1968. It is reproduced here as published.


An Area-Winston production for S.F. Film Distribution release

Camera: Werner Lenz

Music: Johannes Rediske

Producer: Karin Wecker-Jacobsen

Director: F.J. Gottlieb

Executive Producer: Oswalt Kolle

Technical consultants: Prof. Dr. Hans Giese, Institute of Sexology, Hamburg University; Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hochheimer, Institute of Pedagogic Psychology

Berlin Cast:

Pauline: Biggie Freyer

Thomas: Wilfried Gossler

Claudia: Katarina Haertei

Martin: Regis Vallee

Oswalt Kolle is a good-looking German journalist. With a good-looking bank account. He is, at last count, a multi-millionaire. At 39. Because of… sex! About a year ago, Kolle shifted his newspaper, magazine and book love-life guidance to the cinema. He joined the non-stop sex-eduation genre of films currently being ground out in Germany with all the speed, repetition and uniformity of the Volkswagen.

Such films have long been a tradition in the Teuton cinema. Going right back, for example, to a feature-length look at venereal disease called LET THERE BE LIGHT soon after the 14-18 holocaust. Apparently, it is time for more light to be shed in the bedroom. And handsome Kolle — married with three children; one daughter and two sons — is succeeding where HELGA trod so recently and, to mix metaphors, as hamfistedly. We have already previewed Kolle’s THE WONDER OF LOVE colour film; the inevitable big-budget sequel born out of the triumphant success of this, his first entry into the cinema. Following the first public unveiling of his screen debut in London, Oswalt Kolle discussed certain aspects of his work with us.

Cinema X: What do your films say that HELGA and the others have not already discussed — indeed rammed down our throats like so much statistical propaganda?

Kolle: My films derive from a wholly different standpoint from HELGA and the other productions. They are purely and simply films of sex-education; strictly biological works. I deal with love more than sex. Therefore I look upon my works as being sociological.

Cinema X: The end result seems a hairsbreadth’s difference. Your main message, your moral if you like, is not exactly new and is concerned with both sex and love.

Kolle: Yes, to say that tenderness is essential in love and in love-making may not be new. But I do not cloud this message with statistics and diagrams of the human body and all its organs. I deal with people, with human problems based on the various letters I receive in reply to my books and articles. And I feel my films are making this message more readily understood. By sheer example.

Cinema X: Have you proof of such success?

Kolle: In my letters from the public; I get about 500 a week. They come from all sorts of people. Couples both young and old. Single people too. They all voice their sympathy with my work, their unqualified approval of my articles and now my films — and many, many, write to say how much they have learned, and by learning changed their love-lives… Furthermore, I have seen couples leaving my films and saying to each other: « We should try and behave like that… ». That alone, for me, is reason enough to make these films.

Cinema X: And to make so much money out of them? Obviously education in sex and love is a boon to mankind, but the strictly commercial aspects of these films — yours in particular — the use of such attractive players and so on — surely some couples somewhere with problems of this nature are fat, old, ugly; and the way in which such huge profitable returns are brought in from the initial promise of solving other people’s miseries… well it seems abhorrent to us.

Kolle: I understand your feelings. But, really, you cannot blame me for making money… That is the world today, believe me. If these films — mine or anyone else’s — were shown completely free of charge to the general public, do you think they would come? Of course not! That is not my fault. That is not theirs. That is simply how the world reacts these days. Anything free is immediately distrusted. However, please let me add, that of course, we do make all possible arrangements in all countries for my films to be shown freely to schools, youth groups and so on — as and when requested by leaders.

Cinema X: How did you start in this sphere of journalism?

Kolle: My father is a Professor of Psychiatry in Munich. Therefore I have always taken a keen interest in all areas of psychology, medicine and sexual behaviour. I also believe in passing on to the public the results of such scientific research. Naturally, newspapers and magazines were the best medium for such publicity. Hence my articles. Then three books. Then Area Productions asked to film my latest, indeed my most successful survey, THE WONDER OF LOVE… under my general supervision.

Cinema X: What was the attitude of the censor in Europe?

Kolle: Mixed: To say the least… At home, the West German Film Censorship Board have a good reputation for passing sexually explicit features. Notable examples being the famous Swedish films of recent years: Bergman’s The Silence and Sjoman’s I AM CURIOUS – YELLOW. Such deliberations as proved necessary, I gathered, did not take very long. But they spent nine full hours deciding the fate of my first film! Finally they passed it. Completely uncut. But for over 18-years-olds.

France and Italy, however, although allowing HELGA and its sequel to be screened, banned my film out of hand. The Dutch, being as free as the Scandinavians these days, classified it as being « especially outstanding » — and excerpts were shown on TV, as in Germany. The Swiss seemed to have different rules and therefore differing decisions in various regions.

Cinema X: And Britain?

Kolle: We had a slight fight here. No, rather discussions, with your Censor before it was passed with a few slight amendments.

Cinema X: What of the film’s success?

Kolle: Greater than I ever anticipated. In Germany alone no fewer than five million people saw that first film inside four months! Now it has been seen in 19 countries.

Cinema X: Hence the sequel. And, no doubt, more films to come?

Kolle: Definitely. I am currently engaged on two more productions now. In Rome. They are to be called: YOUR WIFE, THE UNKNOWN and BY EXAMPLE: ADULTERY. As before. I tell what I have to tell. Consequently ail the other sex-education films are now following me…

Cinema X: Meanwhile your books sell better than ever, I suppose.

Kolle: Yes indeed. And we have just started a new departure — LP discs featuring selections from the books. The film medium is still the most powerful force in this area of guidance, I think.

Cinema X: Would you now outline THE WONDER OF LOVE (No. 1) for

our readers?

Kolle: Certainly. My subject is sexuality in marriage. The film was made in collaboration with several well known German doctors — two of whom take part in a short discussion with me at the beginning of the feature. We deal with typical sexual problems in a very young marriage and another which is seven years old. In this way we also delve into the background of our society in which sexuality is taboo and we suggest methods of solving marital crises caused by such sexual maladjustments.

In the case of the young couple, the wife, Pauline, finally admits to her husband, Thomas, that his love-making arouses no satisfaction for her. Like any man, I suppose, Thomas is shocked, very angry at this declaration. Gradually, however, they find the courage to discuss their problem together, searching for a way to help one another in their sexual unity. Once worries are brought out into the open like this, two people can begin to increase the joy of their marital relationship. Claudia and Martin are slightly older; married for seven years with two children. Their problem is, perhaps, the oldest of all: familiarity breeding something akin to contempt… He is continually busy, carving a career for himself and thereby a future for his family. But forgetting his wife sexually. She, therefore is left alone with no-one to answer her longings and her desires until one day out of sheer frustration she almost gives herself to another man. This shocks Claudia so much that she, too, finally brings matters into the open. Martin realises how close he has come to killing his marriage… and takes time for once to prove that he can still be a passionate and tender lover.

Cinema X Talks to Rod Taylor

Cinema X Talks to Rod Taylor

This interview was first published in Cinema X vol.2 no1 circa 1969/70. It is reproduced here as published.


By reputation well suited to the title role of THE MAN WHO HAD POWER OVER WOMEN, Rod Taylor is Hollywood ‘s sole Australian star. He’s a man’s man who refuses to censor his own conversation, cheerfully assaulted with four-letter expletives. This, again, befits his usual screen image – the reason he was so surprised when Antonioni asked him to star in ZABRISKIE POINT. (Yet, apart from say David Hemmings in BLOW UP and Marcello Mastroianni on LA NOTTE, the Italian tends to go for the craggy kind of actor: Richard Harris in THE RED DESERT, Steve Cochran in IL GRIDO).

No one, not even Taylor, has seen the finished film to date. Yet the controversy about ZABRISKIE POINT has already begun. The rumours insist it will make BLOW UP look like a Disney offering. Adding much fuel to this story was the recent issuing of Grand Jury subpoenas to people concerned with the shooting, alleging violations of America ‘s sacred Mann Act. This is the law which forbids transportation of people across state boundary lines for ‘immoral purposes’.

Until now, the law has only affected pimps luring girls from one state to another to work as prostitutes, or even a fellow driving his bird across the line for a night at a motel. Is it now to be immoral in America to bring stars from one state to another for location scenes which may require nudity, simulated love-making and so on? If it is, it seems to have been discovered a bit late in Hollywood ‘s home location history…

Apparently hippie sequences of wholesale nudity seem to have triggered off the inquiry into the shooting of ZABRISKIE POINT. However, other reports bring it down to a political level – the secret Grand Jury hearing being part of a move to ban Antonioni’s film from .S. cinemas because it is, or might be (no one has seen it, remember), outrageously anti-American. Indeed one observer in the Sacramento courtroom was later quoted as opining: ‘If this picture ever is shown in this country, they’ll hang Antonioni in effigy on every street corner in America ‘!

Antonioni’s aim? ‘I do not want to look at America as an exotic, strange place. I want to capture its deepest and truest aspects’

Cinema X: What is your reaction to the Grand Jury hearings in Sacramento and the result of their findings being passed to the Justice Department in Washington ?

Rod Taylor : I don’t know very much about it all – the hearings or even the sequences in question. I’m not annoyed by it… I’m shit-scared about it! I read the reports and I think: ‘Aha, OK, Antonioni, Taylor got fucked again!’ Thing I don’t like was way down at the bottom of one of the press reports: ‘The star of the film, Rod Taylor, happens to be in London ; the director, Michelangelo Antonioni, happens to be in Rome ‘. Looked like we both held hands and fled, you know!

CX: How did you get involved with the film?”

RT: He came after me. I felt that my kind of funny image – you know, rough, tough, kill ’em, punch ’em, fuck ’em! – didn’t seem to go along with Michelangelo. But he seemed to feel I was right. He’d been to see… oh something way out, something dreadful like THE MERCENARIES and said ‘That’s the son of a bitch for me’. He kinda wooed me over three lunches. I kept saying: ‘Shit, I’m no good to you in this’. But he convinced me. Never had a script, just said: ‘Rod, we just talk together. We do things together. We do script together. And we don’t tell anyone what we do’. So I said: ‘OK, you’re the fucking genius, let’s see’.

CX: Not your usual kind of film deal.

RT: Hardly! It’s not the sort of thing I would have agreed to with many people. But no, I admired him, been intrigued by his work for a long time. And so I thought if the man can do something creative, artistic and also make 22 milion dollars, OK, baby, I’ll go. Because I believe in entertaining people. So I went along, kinda eyes wide open, to see what kind of man he was.

CX: With what result?

RT: I finished up loving him, I love him and I wanna work with him again. But I still had the same kinda feeling as when I did a picture with Doris Day. You know the feeling? ‘What the fuck am I doing here? Cary Grant, sure. Rock Hudson, sure, James Garner, sure. But me – a fire-plug with funny hands and a broken nose’. I felt the same way around Michelangelo. But he had in the back of his mind that he needed some kind of strength in terms of… (wild laughter; I’m sounding like a poof’)… the solid masculine type of man who can take care of himself.

CX: No doubt he had felt the same with Richard Harris. But as Harris told me ‘the love affair soon ended’.

RT: Well Richard told him to fuck off, didn’t he? He gave him the elbow. I certainly didn’t give him the elbow because I know so much about the other side of the camera and I admired what he was doing immensely. Not that I saw any of this crap with, you know, the Mann Act… I wasn’t scarpering around nude or anything. I didn’t know this was going on. Though I sure as fuck heard about it later. Like everyone else.

CX: Where and what is Zabriskie Point, by the way?

RT: It’s a place in Death Valley . I was never there, because I play the Establishment, which is the area of the film shot in enormous offices and beautiful country house and all that. The film is the Establishment versus all these punk kids who are sucking and fucking.

CX: Who wins?

RT: Well, I’ll tell ya. The last shot I did was with this little kid (Daria Halprin), who I am obviously attracted to. She’s my secretary, who has been messing around with all the beatniks and the hippies. Last shot in the picture, she comes to my house and I tell her, you know, very gentle, to go and clean up… because she’s been fucked and sucked and carried on with, and looks a little haggard. Well, she walks out of the house and down the road, looks back and boom! The house blows up. That’s the version I saw and I think it’s a fairly strong (laugh) comment.

CX: How much of the film have you seen, in fact?

RT: Only my stuff. I didn’t see any of the other scenes, most of which was being shipped to Rome as soon as he shot it. I don’t think anyone saw it.

CX: From what you’ve seen – and the script – would you call the film anti-American, or is it strictly an Italian’s eye view of America today?

RT: I really don’t know… I didn’t let him do anything in my scenes that I didn’t believe was right. I played a good, strong, young, clean-cut businessman and he didn’t try to warp my character at all. But (laugh) he sure had fun with the beatniks, I tell you. As for the script, it was arriving daily in pages.

CX: Apart from you, the cast is purely amateur, do you object to this kind of casting?

RT: I think if they are in the hands of a so-called genius like Michelangelo, it’s fine. I was literally the only kind of pro he talked to on the set. We got on very well. So well I never even bothered to work out my billing in the film. That may be unprofessional of me, I don’t know. Still, truth is, I don’t know if I’m starring or guest-starring. I don’t mind either. I enjoyed the experience and I want to work with Antonioni again. So does he! He told me: ‘Rod I want to make another film with you. Somewhere where I talk the language!’

CX: As an Australian, you should be concerned about another big screen controversy. How do you feel about Mick Jagger playing Ned Kelly?

RT: I cringe a little, I must admit. It’s like getting Mick to play Jesse James. Kind odd, that’s all. I don’t think an Australian necessarily should play Kelly because let’s face it there were no Australians then. They were all English. I mean if I played Kelly – as I might have done in the Dino de Laurentis film, THE IRON OUTLAWS cancelled because of this Tony Richardson film – I wouldn’t be allowed to do it with an Aussie accent. Because there was no such thing then. So, I’m not against it from that point of view. It’s just, well, Ned Kelly was a tough sonofabitch and I don’t know if Mick is.

CX: He could knock you down with a shake of his hair!

RT: In a flurry of talc!

CX: What are you doing next, instead of your Kelly film?

RT: I have another film, WHERE THE LIONS FEED to do for Joe Levine in Africa towards the end of 1970. In the meantime, I go to Florida and Nassau – how does that grab you with your English weather? – for DARKER THAN AMBER. This is one of a series of books by John MacDonald about a character called Travis McGee. Rough, tough. The usual Rod Taylor bullshit.

CX: Why denigrate yourself?

RT: Well, that’s all they give me to do. This move, THE MAN WHO HAD POWER OVER WOMEN is a joy because, I don’t shoot anybody. I only deck one person. It’s fun to play against title, too. He’s really a pathetic, warped Walter Mitty-type charcter. And I’ve never been so well dressed in my life. Look at all these suits… and all those poofy shirts… Now, how about some beers.

Cinema X Talks to Edwige Fenech

Cinema X Talks to Edwige Fenech

Interview by Luigi Cozzi

This interview was first published in Cinema X (Vol.3 number 3) circa 1970 and re-printed in Cinema X ‘Super-X Special’ No. 4. It is reproduced here as published.

It’s not everyone’s luck to be born on Christmas Eve. But it happened to actress Edwige Fenech. The date which appears on her passport is December 24 th , 1948, and that makes her twenty-two years of age.

Twenty-two gorgeous years, may I add. Edwige Fenech is tall and slender, moves with grace and elegance and exudes class and culture to a remarkable degree. She lives in Rome , where a short time ago she moved.

“It was a talent scout who invited me to Rome ”, Edwige Fenech tells me, speaking Italian easily and correctly in a sweet, melodious French accent. “I took part in a Miss Universe contest as the representative from France and attracted some attention. I was asked to come to Italy to live and try to get somewhere in movies, and I accepted. At this point I’m very happy I came”

Luigi Cozzi: “But hadn’t you already done some work in the French cinema?”

Edwige Fenech: “No. I had just had a few jobs as a photographer’s model and had also done some bits in the theatre. The theatre has always been my passion, and I hoped to be successful at it one day. But the cinema came along instead, and I ended up here… I’m happy about it, however, because a whole new world has opened up to me – much vaster than the theatre. After all, that’s what films are all about, isn’t it?

LC: “Have you been in Italy long?”

EF: “Three years. It’s a very beautiful country – in fact, I would say that Rome is the most beautiful city in the world”

LC: “Where is your family from?”

EF: “I come from Nice, just like my parents. I often go there to visit them, but when I can’t get away, my mother comes down to see me. Mama is often here in Rome with me. She helps me, keeps me company and has a good time, because Rome is a wonderful city”

LC: “What do your parents think of the career you have chosen to follow? You have made ‘For Adults Only’ type pictures for the most part. Wearing just the bear essentials”

EF: “They are happy at the present time and satisfied with what I have been able to do. They know it has been a hard, uphill road for me, and what success I have had has been gotten the hard way. You know, acting with almost all your clothes off doesn’t shorten the road to the top. All actresses take their clothes off nowadays, but only a few get there and stay there. I feel I have arrived, and my mother is very happy about it”

LC: “But don’t you feel embarrassed about getting undressed on the set?”

EF: “Oh, it’s terrible. Especially the first times on the early films… I didn’t know how to behave and I was frightfully ashamed. Then I resigned myself to it, rather I got used to it… after all these are things you have to do in the movies whether you like it or not. The public demands it. Certainly it’s never pleasant to disrobe in front of so many technicians and fellow actors. I always have the feeling, when I get dressed again, that they are still looking at me as if I had nothing on. And I don’t even want to talk about what happens in the theatres where they show my pictures… I went to see MADAME BOVARY again in a first run film theatre, and I turned as red as a beet when I saw myself naked on the screen. Meanwhile the audience began to get noisy and exchange unprintable remarks”

LC: “However, this always happens, in all movies, whenever an actress undresses. Italians as an audience are warm and expressive”

EF: “Yes, but it’s not always like that. That picture (MADAME BOVARY) really upset me, but when I saw the scene with the nude buttocks in SOLDIER BLUE, I noticed that the public remained perfectly calm, wasn’t noisy and made no remarks”

LC: “Well, excuse me, but that’s not a very appropriate example. Candice Bergen didn’t have much to do, erotically speaking, in that scene… if that pair of buttocks was really hers. It was a touch of humour more than anything else, with the wagon jolting along and the couple plastered together like slices of salami… in 500 MILLION HIT ON THE NATIONAL BANK, Ursula Andress is nude from beginning to end, but everything is done with such grace and finesse that the picture has not even been prohibited for minors of fourteen years of age. MADAME BOVARY is, on the other hand, more obvious, laying the emphasis on physical eroticism. When the leading lady emerges topless, I think the explosion on the part of the audience is quite understandable”

“Perhaps”, agrees Edwige Fenech with an embarrassed smile. Just talking about this scene makes her blush spontaneously. “I realise it’s not a good film, but I also know that doing the role helped me a great deal in that it introduced me to the public by exploiting what I had to offer physically. All in all, I owe a lot of my present success to it”

LC: “Will you continue to accept these sex-kitten roles?”

EF: “If possible, no. At least, if the sex sequences are motivated and justified by the demands of the plot and aesthetic considerations, then I would say yes. But I shall say no absolutely to a picture which presents sex for sex’s sake with no other justifications”

LC: “How many pictures have you made so far?”

EF: “Eighteen I believe. Yes, I’m not very satisfied with them, but I must admit they have all been important for getting me before the public and catapulting me up to where I am now. Now I am preparing myself to enter the second stage of my career, and I really would like to make a success with my talent and acting gifts rather than just with my beauty. I’m counting a great deal on a film I’ve just finished making, THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARD, directed by Sergio Martino on the scenario of a thriller by Ernest Gastaldi. I adore suspense films and think this one in particular is very beautiful, full of chills and special effects.

LC: “What films are your favourites?”

EF: “SOLDIER BLUE, CROMWELL and THEY SHOOT HORSES DON’T THEY? Are the first ones which come to my mind. I adore Richard Harris as an actor as well as a man. I think he’s great, magnificent – he makes me dream with my eyes open”

LC: “Leaving the cinema aside for a moment, what are your preferences in life?”

EF: “I lead a tranquil, sheltered life. I have a few friends – boys who go to university – solid citizens. I like music too and almost always listen to pop records – Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding. However, when I’m alone and sad, I prefer to listen to classical music: it’s more relaxing”

LC: “Do you live alone?”

EF: “I live in an apartment… which I must change, because I’m alone when my mother’s not here. Do you know that thieves have tried to break in here twice? Now I’m looking for a new apartment in a safer area. It’s the only thing to do, don’t you think?”