A beauty billed as the Italian Dietrich.
But who the hell was she?
We realize that Italian actress Isa Miranda isn’t exactly a household name among classic movie fans. But consider that Hollywood in Thirties and Forties yearned for sexpot/glamourpusses from Europe to internationalize and spice up their femme roles. Some stuck around (Hedy Lamarr, Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman, among others) and some (including Miranda) didn’t.
Born in Milan in 1909, she began her career as a good looking stage actress who eased her way into films, particularly director Max Ophuls 1934 drama La Signora di Tutti (Everybody’s Woman), playing a sexually adventuresome movie star irresistible to men. Miranda certainly looked the part (see below).
Paramount got wind of her performance, and came offering a Hollywood contract. The studio came up with the billing referencing Dietrich, which never really took. Miranda found herself paired with Ray Milland (playing an Austrian officer) as a chambermaid tracking down her sister’s killer.
And, opposite George Brent in a crime caper in which she plays a beautiful and glamorous international jewel thief.
Miranda pretty much closed the Hollywood chapter of her career during World War II, returning to Europe to appear onstage, in movies and on tv in France, Great Britain and eventually in Germany. Nonetheless, she appeared in some notable studio productions including 1964’s The Yellow Rolls Royce.….
And in 1955’s Summertime, starring Katharine Hepburn. (Miranda is the check-in signora behind the desk.)
Perhaps Miranda’s best outing was in director Rene Clement’s 1949 outing, Le Mura di Malapaga (The Walls of Malapaga), which won a best-foreign-language-film Oscar. Miranda’s performance won her a best actress award at the Cannes International Film Festival. She’s seen below with her powerhouse costar, French actor Jean Gabin.
Miranda died in Rome in 1982, at the age of 73.