Friday, February 5, 2010

Soledad Miranda

The words most commonly appearing in articles about Soledad Miranda include haunted or some variation, because she died young in an automobile accident. She immediately skyrocketed to icon. Her acting abilities had been praised in modest and polite terms, i.e., nice ways of saying she was pretty and technically proficient but no Kate Hepburn. They were now viewed as game changing, a new way to act.

She was a poor half-Gypsy girl who made good because upon losing the pleasing adiposity of youth, took on an indefinable mystical quality. Jess Franco recognized this and cast her as the lead in Vampyros Lesbos (Lesbian Vampires: The Heiress of Dracula, 1971). It was the standard cautionary tale of female seduction, the dangerous other woman who threatened the sanctity of marriage and foundations of Western culture by taking beautiful women away from weak men. In other words, at a time when lesbianism was frowned upon in film, lesbian vampires became ok subject matter. We all appreciated that and still do.

Soledad had been in films throughout the sixties including 100 Rifles with Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welch and Jim Brown, but left films to get married, had a baby and returned two years later having lost weight and undergone the aforementioned transformation from pretty to enigmatic.

She became a good actress and would have become a great one, because she had the drive and potential. The few movies in which she was featured demonstrated a considerable range from the seductive vampire in the aforementioned film to the deranged killed in She Killed in Ecstasy. She died before the completion of her last film, The Devil Came from Akasava, while on a ride with her husband having just secured a major film contract.


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