29 September 2007

Who is Adelina Poerio?

So, anyone who has happened upon this and DOESN'T want the ending for Nicholas Roeg's 1973 film Don't Look Now spoiled for them should just scroll on down and enjoy some trailers featuring a drop dead gorgeous Norah Jones.

Still here....?

Don't Look Now is a very effective-if dated-thriller that is not easily described. Much of it deals with the relationship between a married couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) living in Venice after their daughter drowns. Both grieve in different ways as a blind woman and her sister enter their lives, appearing to know more than they are letting on. Into this domestic drama, however, Roeg slowly but deliberately introduces a string of killings and a mysterious figure in a red cloak that catches the attention of Sutherland's character. The red cloak he continues to see fleeting glimpses of disappearing around corners reminds him of the one his daughter was wearing the day that she died, leading him to rush after the figure wearing it as the film draws to a close.

He comes upon the figure huddled in a corner and speaks to it, telling it he is there to help.

The small figure turns around and....

...needless to say, that's not quite the frightened daughter he was searching for.

The dwarf approaches him and, after pulling out a knife, drives it into the side of Sutherland's neck. As he's dying, Sutherland's mind flashes back through events of the film, particularly focusing on the face of his wife as his life spills out on the floor.

Even having known that it was coming from the very beginning, that scene worked on every level and sent a chill up my spine. It's a strong ending to an effective thriller that has rightly become iconic. Donald Sutherland is one of the most underrated actors there's ever been, and his performance here (essentially a one man show for a good portion of the last third of the film) stands among his best.

But the person I'm most interested in here is Adelina Poerio, the woman who played the dwarf and went on to do nothing else. There's essentially no information anywhere about her, but there's just something so fascinating about her to me. Her appearance is truly frightening and, as it draws all the plot threads together, puts the finishing touches on Roeg's classic.


Anonymous said...

I read that she was supposed to have had a "sweet smile" and that she was a flower seller from Rome. A few people have claimed she had several other small roles, but there's nothing on the net to confirm this. One has to assume that she is now dead, given how old she looked and that the film was made over 35 years ago!

Anonymous said...

I believe she may have been married to a Joseph Poerio and upon having been widowed married a George Kloss.
My husband says she looks like his cousin from near Chicago Heights, Illinois.

AS said...

to anonymous on July 15th... I am about 97% positive my great aunt Rose was married to Joseph Poerio then George Kloss and lived in Chicago Heights...I was searching the last name when this post came up...small world...

Tommy Davis (Artist of some sort) said...

I have also searched all over for information on this woman, there is like 7 pictures of her in existance and they are all of the dwarf. Maybe if I find something I'll remember to come back here

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Jason Daniel Baker said...

Apparently she made a living as a singer in her younger years...Incidentally her height is listed at 4 foot 2. Donald Sutherland who's throat she slashes in the movie was about 6 feet four at the time.

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leafbyniggle said...

Adelina Poerio has an uncredited bit-part in Fellini's "The Clowns" as a dwarf nun.

nlgbbbblth said...

Nicolas Roeg died today. If Adelina Poerio still lives, then there is no justice.