The adage “sell the sizzle, not the steak” typifies a style used by a number of American movie promoters following World War II. Hollywood promoters often marketed European movies to American audiences by creating more sexually suggestive taglines, choosing sexy movie stills for lobby cards or by renaming older films to make them sound more sexually suggestive and appealing.
Originally released in 1946, Desiderio (Desire) was one of Roberto Rossellini’s (1906–1977) first films. It is said to have been completed by his friend and fellow director, Marcello Pagliero (1907–1980), after Rossellini had purportedly run out of money and could no longer finish the production. The film was re-released in the U.S. in the 1950s as Woman. The lobby card’s tagline accentuates the film’s sexual quality, while downplaying its more tragic quality.
Originally censored in Italy before being re-edited, the film tells the story of a young call girl named Paola (Elli Parvo, 1915–2010) who attempts to escape her decadent life in Rome. She returns to her small mountain village and is forced to confront the same destructive and negative conditions that were present in the big city. She eventually commits suicide after being blackmailed by her brother- in-law and former lover.
Where the Hot Wind Blows is a story of illicit passion in a small Italian town. It was based on an award-winning book by Roger Vailland (1907–1965) and originally titled La Legge (1959). The movie was released in the United States in 1960 with its more seductive title. It features the sensuous Gina Lollobrigida (1927–) and Marcello Mastroianni (1924–1996). It was scripted and directed by American-born Jules Dassin (1911–2008) who moved to France after being blacklisted by The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA) during the post-World War II, McCarthy era.
Originally titled Zwischen Zeit und Ewigkeit (1956) this West German film stars Lilli Palmer (1914–1986) as Nina Bohlen, a terminally ill middle-aged woman in her last attempt for a true romance. The movie was distributed by Universal -International in 1960 for an American audience.