New York-born actress Vittoria Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson (or as she is commonly known, Marisa Berenson) played the tragic beauty Lady Lyndon in Stanley Kubrick’s 18th Century period film BARRY LYNDON. It’s one of my favourite films, because of its visually stunning and exquisite Oscar-winning cinematography by John Alcott based on Kubrick’s vision and visual innovation. It was filmed entirely with natural and candlelight, without the use of a single electric bulb. Special lenses, designed by German optical manufacturer Carl Zeiss were used, which NASA also employed for lowlight shooting on the moon landings. They also ‘push developed’ the film processing by one stop. I once held ambitions to be a cinematographer, not that you would have noticed.
Anyway back to Marisa, beautifully captured by such innovative technology and dubbed the ‘It girl’ in the 1970’s by Yves Saint Laurent. In 1972 Marisa won the National Board of Review Best Supporting Award and received BAFTA and Golde Globe nominations for her role as Natalia Landauer in CABARET. She made her Broadway debut in 2001 with the revival of DESIGN FOR LIVING and is currently playing Lady Capulet in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre season on the London stage at the Garrick Theatre.
I met the delightful Marisa at the stage door on Saturday as she arrived for the evening’s performance. She loved the drawing and as she signed it, I declared my admiration for BARRY LYNDON and included her Lady Lyndon in this sketch as a homage to the film.