Nadja Tiller, Carla Romanelli, Edda Di Bendetto, Lorenzo Piani
Another Italian film that seems to have vanished into thin air is the erotic drama Le leonesse (the lionesses) which was shot in early 1971.
Very little is known about this lost film. What little information I have been able to find came from the Italian magazine "Men", which printed an article about the film's leading lady, popular Austrian actress Nadja Tiller, in April 1971. Tiller was making several films in Italy around this time, including Emma Hamilton (1968), Death Knocks Twice (1968), The Silk Worm (1969) and The Etruscan Kills Again (1971), and in the "Men" article she talks about her latest film, Le leonesse.
Apparently, Tiller (who was 42 at the time) stars as a scandalous mother who fights her daughter (Carla Romanelli) and the daughter's friend (Edda Di Benedetto) for the love of the same man. All three women use their bodies and female charms to succeed. The question is who of the three is the biggest "lioness"...
Some pictures from the film - scanned from "Men":
A sex scene with Nadja Tiller and Lorenzo Piani
Another shot of Tiller and Piani
Another shot of Tiller and Piani
Unfortunately, no director is mentioned in the article and it remains unclear what happened to the film. It is not listed in any film databases so it was probably never released. The big question is whether or not production closed down before the film was finished, or if it was completed and lies unreleased in a vault somewhere. I guess the chances of Le leonesse ever being unearthed are slim but one can always hope. It sounds like a nice little film.
The director and co-producer of this film LE LEONESSE (1971) is Henry Zaphiratos, director of Les Nymphettes(Nymphen von Paris), KOSAKEN KOMMEN (Le Fils de Tarass Boulba, or Tarass Boulba, or Plains of Battle), La Grande Frime, La Vie sexuelle des Français. Henry Zaphiratos i also writer, author of La Conujuration des Anges, and Bankrupcy of Christianism ? (Editions HTZ-ATHENA-Paris)
The main actor with Nadja Tiller,Carla Romanelli, Edda di Benedetto,was the french actor Daniel Ceccaldi. This motion picture as been filmed in Torvanaïca-beach, near Roma, in 1970, post-production under controle of the director Henry Zaphiratos was effected in Cinecittà.
If any information can be found about this film please advise the director-producer Henry Zaphiratos at this e-mail address :
This film Le Leonesse was completed with the music of Maestro Bruno Nicolai (school of Nino Rota)
Concerning Le Leonesse, the original title of the scenario of Henry Zaphiratos, the author-director and co-producer, is :AIMER POUR VIVRE (LOVE FOR LIFE)-french title of the film "Les Lionnes".
Wow! Thank you so much for all this interesting and enlightening information! Really, really cool.
Are you in contact with the director? And do you have any more specifics on what happened to this film? Was it completed but never released?
This movie has probably be released in Italy in 1971/72 by the italian co-producer, fewly, but we have no found, from collectors, any posters of this film, which disappear with the co-producer. The french director and co-producer has never received any print of this film for the distribution.
The director can be contacted at
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