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Before Elsa, it was unheard of for one woman to be described by different directors as both ‘The Most Stylish Woman in the World’ and ‘The Most Sexy of All.’ But such was marvelous Martinelli’s unique appeal.  

To say the Italian model turned actress—the first to cross over from runway to reel—was ‘a trendsetter’ is putting it mildly. And only upon her death earlier this month is this innovative icon finally getting her due.

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Elsa Martinelli was the first to combine fashion with passion and elegant with erotic in the public perception.

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Rarely if ever were a print and ‘pearl necklace’ so artfully assimilated (above).  

And speaking of artful, renowned director Vittorio De Sica seemingly summed the stunner up best: “She looks,” he marveled, “as if she had been painted in oils.”

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And being the initial celebrity willing to pose in nothing but body paint {a half century ago!, above right} was just one of groundbreaking genres that Martinelli masterminded in her 65-year career.  

Helen of Troy famously had ‘The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships” {during the Trojan Wars} … and it’s equally fair to say that this modern beauty ‘Launched Myriad Memes & Themes that are pervasive today, yet which she pioneered!  

Not to mention filling thousands of ‘Trojans’ …  

So, as the rubber blog in this three-part tri•bute, Sleuth has selected the Top Dozen Discoveries that dominate the horniest hashtags at present that owe their creation to Elsa’s experimentation.  

In alphabetical order …    

 

 # Braless

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With an A cup, Elsa hardly needed—and almost never wore—a brassiere … but sheerly made her points in more subtle ways.

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“In life,” Martinelli mused, “it happens that you say to yourself, ‘She could have done this,’ or ‘She could have done it that way. Yet mostly I say, ‘She was O.K.’” And a real K.O. {as in ‘they could knock your eye out!’}    

 

# Butt Crack

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When Mr. Skin launched this site in 1999, one of his first bios began: “Elsa Martinelli is a royal piece of ass. No, really, she married a Count in 1953.”

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Sorry, boss, butt we prefer her wise cracks:

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# Camel Toe

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Sixty years ago, panties were a prerequisite onscreen … until Elsa’s soaked shorts tending the fields in Rice Girl (above left) marked the opening ‘gash flash’ in film. Pubic publicity poses were her next in•novation.

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# Full Bush

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Obviously shaven in order to ‘show toe’ … she grew it out later in life as a mother and wife.

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And with daughter Cristiana above, it appears to be in•hair•ited.

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# Hand Bra

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Despite losing the War, Italy was way ahead of America in terms of baring breasts … so as the star of 1959’s Top Secret, she developed the technique of ‘holding her own’ in both her reel and real life.

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# M.I.L.F.

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“I have nothing against nudity in the movies,” Elsa explained, “so long as it is keeping with the context of the film and isn’t vulgar” And what could be more in keeping with being a hooker on celluloid than offering a young man her celluloins (and lips, below).

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The lad couldn’t believe his luck in 1976’s The Red Carnation when, just 18, he loses his cherry to a prostitute played by Elsa, then aged 41. A decade earlier his ‘teacher’ starred in the apt How I Learned to Love Women.

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The site’s early bio concluded: “Though she hasn’t flashed her finery [on film] since the late ’60s. Mr. Skin would love to see how they’ve matured.” Like a Mutha !  

 

# Nip Slip

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“I like to take risks,” the avant-garde actress admitted … and her nonchalance with nudity produced a series of “wardrobe malfunctions” decades before the Super Bowl even kicked off.

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Elsa once called herself “a laughingstock as a dancer,” but said she continually boogied the night away “because I cannot bear to be with sad people.” There were smiles all around one mamorable Parisian night in 1981 when she came out to dance with playboy Massimo Garcia … and released her ‘Jet Set’ (above). As one eyewitness wryly understated: “This has contributed greatly to what was already a successful party.”

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Not needing a bra led to trailblazing tit•illations, but Martinelli was never fazed by the fallouts: “In a way, I always look at myself like I was somebody else.” And something else!  

 

# Puffy Nipples

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Sleuth prefers quality over quan•titty … and if you’ve got a small breasts they might as well be “choice.” Long before Sean Combs became ‘Puffy,’ Elsa was!

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The film for which she won Best Actress, 1956’s Donatella, was called “a piece of fluff {rhymes with puff !}, made with an eye to the box-office potential of its varied parts.” Especially hers …    

 

# Side Boob

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In addition to notable nipples, shape is crucial to a beautiful bosom. And as seen in profile (above right), Elsa’s orb is the living em•body•ment of the French adage that “the ideal breast should fit perfectly inside the rim of a champagne glass.” We’ll drink to that!

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“I will not make a film in which nudity is exploited for commercial purposes,” the demanding diva declared in the 1970s. “No amount of money could make me do this.” Glad to see that she is so free … above.

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“For exercise,” it was written in 1963, “she water-skis (above left) … in the nude, if possible.” And it’s impossible to seem sleeker than she does surfside (above right).  

 

 # Skinny Dipping

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Famous people simply didn’t swim in the nude on film until Elsa disrobed and dunked in 1955’s The Indian Fighter {going native, as it were}. Then she repeated the unorthodox act 8 years later in Rampagewithout wearing the usual privacy patch! (above right)—and with Cely Carillo.

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“For the lads in the audience,” notes an IMDb review, “there are many shots of the long-legged Elsa Martinelli looking nifty in the buff in one brief swimming scene (above left)—focused on her backside for some reason :-)” 

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Older and wealthier, the Jet Set fixture stated: “My favorite is to skinny dip at Juan-les-Pins off southern France (above right), then lay out to dry in the sun.” While no doubt sipping a Dry Martinelli with a twist (above left).    

 

# Smoking Fetish

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A search for this term produces over 10.5 million hits on Google—it’s scientific name is Capnolagnia—with separate tags devoted to the practice on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and YouTube. The tempting Tuscan trailed a blaze by doing it both dressed and un- {another theme prevalent at present).

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One fan even kept count of how often Elsa lit up in each film—six times alone in Hatari (1962)—so clearly ‘Puffy’ could refer to her lips as well as nips (above right).

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“Of course, to smoke in a movie is a question of gesture,” she huffed {and puffed, above left}. “Look, we all smoked back then.” But few as fetchingly … above right.  "Spirited and uncompromising, Martinelli rarely had to settle for less than she wanted," echoed one eulogy, "which was to live life on her own terms." While coining dozens we eagerly employ every day.  

 

# Topless Sunbathing

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“Why on earth would you try to tan with a top on?” the sun-worshipper wondered. Indeed, years before Bardot brought crowds to Buzios in Brazil with her monokini in 1962, her Italian rival had revealed her pert parts up and down the Riveria.

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Wild Cats on the Beach was one of her earliest film titles … so Elsa had no qualms signing shots of her charms (above right). And she continued to display her ‘nifties’ well into her 50s (below center) and even as a sexagenarian (below on either end).

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And speaking of fitting finales, a young blogger wrote after Martinelli departed: “Upon researching this gorgeous bombshell, I was delighted to learn that besides being a pretty face and talented actress, she was also a fucking bad ass.” In a good sense …

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“You see,” she reflected at age 77, “I took many chances in cinema. Because if it’s a special story, I sense that somebody special might be behind it.” That she was …

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