There’s been sad news this week, with the news that Italian actress Mariangela Melato – best known to us for her portrayal of General Kala in Dino De Laurentiis’ Flash Gordon – has died as a result of pancreatic cancer aged 71. As The Guardian‘s own obituary puts it:
She won international cult status for three films directed by Lina Wertmüller in which she co-starred with Giancarlo Giannini: The Seduction of Mimi (1972), Love and Anarchy (1973) and Swept Away (1974), in all of which the controversial Wertmüller mixed sex and politics.
Having known so little about her work, I am in no way qualified to write my own obituary – but I’m sure that I’m not alone in being saddened by the loss of an actress who left us such a thoroughly iconic performance. After all, who out there doesn’t know the line:
“What do you mean, Flash Gordon approaching?”