Who were the movie stars Japanese flocked to see in 1964? I came upon the August and November 1964 copies of “Eiga no Tomo” (Friends of Film), a magazine devoted to the pictures and stories of the world’s most popular movie stars. Based on those magazines, here are the women both Japanese men and woman loved to look at.
Natalie Wood: At the age of 26 in 1964, Natalie Wood was already one of the most famous women in the world. Before she even turned ten, Wood had already starred in such films as Miracle on 34th Street and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Like George Chakiris mentioned in this post, Wood’s global reach exploded with her starring role in the 1961 musical, West Side Story. In 1964, she was in the groundbreaking, Sex and the Single Girl, with Lauren Bacall and Tony Curtis.
Brigitte Bardot: There may not have been any bigger sex symbol in the 1950s and 1960s than Brigitte Bardot. Bardot had released only one film in 1964 – “Une Ravissante Idiote” (“A Ravishing Idiot”). To indicate how the English-speaking world marketed this movie, they referred to Bardot in a revised title “Agent 38-24-36”.
Elke Sommer: The slender Elke Sommer from Germany was an up-and-coming sex symbol, featured as Miss September in Playboy in 1964. She was also starring in the second installment of the Pink Panther series, A Shot in the Dark. Sommer was also taken seriously in 1964, when she won a Golden Globe Award as the Most Promising Newcomer Actress category, for her role in The Prize, with Paul Newman and Edeward G. Robinson.
Claudia Cardinale: This Italian-Tunisian bombshell preceded Sommer, co-starring with David Niven in the first Pink Panther film in 1963, where she became known in the US. But Cardinale was already an international phenomenon due to her Italian films, including Federico Fellini‘s 8½, released in 1963.