Friday, June 22, 2018

RIP Maria Rohm

RIP Maria Rohm

By Ivan Zingariello
June 22, 2018

Austrian actress Maria Rohm has died, a muse of Jesus Franco and interpreter of many of his cult movies, from 99 Women to Justine, from Paroxismus to Il conte Dracula.

Another heroine of the cinema has been silenced, Maria Rohm. The muse of Jesus Franco and widow of his producer Harry Alan Towers, died in Toronto on Monday 18 June at the age of 72, as announced on his Facebook profile by his friend actress Hunter Phoenix: "Dear friends, it is with great sadness that I share the news that our dear friend Maria Towers / born Maria Rohm has disappeared. I'm sure you all have many questions and I'm happy to answer you in due time, but I ask you to respect the privacy of those closest to you in this difficult moment. We will miss him not only for his work, but above all for his kindness and compassion ".

Maria Rohm (Helga Grohmann) was born in Vienna in 1945 (but some sources report 1943) and since she was a child she stages the stages, in classics taken from Shakespeare, Tolstoy and working with great actors. At 18, the beautiful and blonde aristocratic Maria gives an audition for producer Harry Alan Towers, who loses his head over her and, after having married her in 1964, launched her in international films directed by Jeremy Summers, The 5 dragons d'oro (1967) and Le faire vergini (1968) with Vincent Price. Almost all of the films interpreted by Rohm will be produced by her husband (often also as a screenwriter), including The Blood of Fu Manchu which in 1968 marks the beginning of the association with the Spanish b-movie master Jesus Franco, where she will become a muse like the ill-fated Soledad Miranda.

With Franco, Maria Rohm shoots her most famous films, nine in just five years. In most of them there is a high rate of eroticism, frequent lesbian scenes, perversions, sadism and, often, even hard core insertions, as the tradition of the Spanish director. After the aforementioned Fu Manchu with Christopher Lee and the adventurous Sumuru queen of femina, the first W.I.P. Francoist 99 women, in which she is a victim of prison violence with Maria Schell, Luciana Paluzzi and the sensual Rosalba Neri. Following the "de sadiano" Justine or the misadventures of virtue, in which is Juliette, sister of the very young Justine / Romina Power, with Klaus Kinski in the role of the famous and perverse Marquis.

It is then she turn out the Francoist masterpiece, Paroxismus - Can a dead relive for love ?, where the ghost of a murdered girl persecutes the protagonist, seeking justice towards those who killed her. We then move on to the costume movie with The throne of fire, which sees Rohm intent on revenging her sister Margaret Lee, burnt as a witch by the inquisitor Christopher Lee, who in the next film, De Sade 70, will instead lead a sect of sadists to whom Rohm will try to procure girls. The most famous of those films directed by Jesus Franco and produced by Towers is, however, The Count Dracula, which brings the stainless Christopher Lee to dress the clothes that made him famous at the time of Hammer, flanked by the inevitable Kinski / Renfield, while Rohm is the beautiful Mina. The partnership with Franco ended in 1972 with the unknowable Sex Charade, with the maniac Paul Muller who keeps the unfortunate Soledad Miranda in captivity (who prematurely died in an accident two years later).

For Maria Rohm she did little else in the post Franco: in 1970 she shoots Dorian Gray by Massimo Dallamano, The God called Dorian, in which she is impaled by Helmut Berger, while two years later she is in the cast of troubled Treasure Island with Orson Welles and de The Call of the Wild with Charlton Heston. The last important role is instead that of the maid Elsa Martino, second "little Indian" to die in ... and then, there remained none (1974) by Peter Collinson. The last film by Rohm is instead the erotic post Emmanuelle set in Hong Kong The end of innocence, still directed by Dallamano, after which the actress decides to retire from the scene ending her career with a scarce thirty titles.

Maria Rohm then joined her husband Harry Alan Towers to become independent film producers, including the adventurous Black Arrow (1985) with Oliver Reed and Donald Pleasence, and the horror Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on the edge of madness (1989) with Anthony Perkins and Dorian (2004) with Malcolm McDowell, until the summer of 2009, when she was widowed after 45 years of marriage.

ROHM, Maria (Helga Grohmann)
Born: 8/13/1945, Vienna, Austria
Died: 6/18/2018, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Maria Rohm’s western – actress:
The Call of the Wild – 1972 (Mercedes)

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