A towering John Wayne stops to sign an autograph for a fan. Sophia Loren grasps a bouquet of flowers, a warm smile lighting her face. Kim Novak poses seductively for the press. Frank Sinatra jams his hands in his pockets and strolls down a street. Marlon Brando seems happily out of character, comfortably surrounded by children. And Robert Mitchum looks bored to death.
Of course many of the actors and actresses in these old black-and-white photos displayed around the MSC Divina are no longer alive. But the images, titled “La Dolce Vita 1950-1960,” offer an intimate glimpse into the stars and celebrities in the Italian ‘50s.
“It’s great nostalgia,” said cruise passenger Cathy Mariani of Florida. “I love those old actors and those old movies.”
It seems fitting that the great ones from yesteryear are a prominent part of the décor on the beautiful MSC Divina. After all, Italian legend Sophia Loren is ship godmother and both she and her godchild are divine.
There are 84 images altogether, most have never been published before and are being shown for the first time on the MSC Divina. Each deck of the ship has large photos in the lounge, buffet area and by the elevators, a handy place to look at them and read the interesting captions.
For example, the caption under a photo of Rita Hayworth at her gorgeous prime in 1960 Rome notes that she was an American of Spanish origins, daughter of a dancer who saw a future for her as a flamenco dancer. In 1935, Hayworth signed a contract with 20th Century Fox. “Femme fatale like no other, in 1942 she married Orson Welles and then in 1949, to an outcry from the media and excommunication from the pope, she married Ali Khan, who she separated from in 1953.”
Curated by Marco Panella, the photos capture an era where La Dolce Vita – “The Sweet Life” – was celebrated on screen and in true life.
“Love affairs, weddings and divorces came and went to the rhythm of the new era,” according to exhibition notes.
“Is it possible to have nostalgia for those years gone by?” the notes ask. “I believe that a story should excite and play with subtle sensibilities and the story of the 50s is an exciting sort of collective adolescence in a country where families rolled up their sleeves to allow their children to study, they bought fridges or televisions in installments, often in embarrassment – and always honored their debts.
Photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch