In the 1960's Austria's response to the invading waves of Italian sex goddesses in cineme' internationale' was with a full broadside of beautiful Senta Berger
Waaay to go, Krauts!
A talented and graceful actress of astonishing beauty and the exact same dimensional superstructure as Italy's Sophia Loren, but packed into a more petite architecture, Senta Berger was lusciously curvey and internationally acclaimed for her co-starring role in 1966's The Quiller Memorandum, opposite George Segal as the hero from the popular Quiller series of spy-thriller novels.
The Quiller Memorandum is considered by artsy-fartsy, long-nosed movie critics to be one of the very best in the spy film genre. And for once those fools are right because it is really good. Starts out kind of slow though, at least for those of us who are used to Bondesque extravaganza. Senta plays a school-teacher in post WW2 Berlin who under-cover spy Segal apparently causes to get mixed up with a group of neo-nazis led by a saturnine Max von Sydow and ... well, I can't really say anything else because it would ruin it all. I never have figured out exactly what the neo-nazis in question were up to ... . but it must have been something pretty bad. Alex Guinness is in it too, and he's always good - probably because he's named after a beer - so next time you get the chance to see Senta in Quiller ... do it. It's on Turner Classic Movies from time to time.
Interestingly enough, Senta Berger would spoof her own role from the intellectual Spy-Thriller-Quiller with a spot in The Ambushers, which is the absolute worst of the Matt Helm movies starring as our hero Matt Helm, our hero Dean Martin. Luckily you have to buy all the Matt Helm movies on dvd boxed together now, so you can watch The Silencers and The Wrecking Crew, which are both great and the pretty good Murderers' Row without having to suffer through The Ambushers. Dean doesn't even have any good lines - however Senta is very armed and very dangerous so The Ambushers is not ALL bad. Besides, it also has Janice Rule (who does have some good lines), and the Slaymates (who have great lines, but no dialogue) and a really cheesy flying saucer. In fact, the whole stupid thing looks like one day producer Irving Allen called up Dean Martin and said, "Hey Dino, let's get some girls and go to Acapulco for a week and play golf... and we'll make another Matt Helm movie while we're at it. Naaw, we don't need no script, ... whaddayasay?"
Although she was a successful working actress, model and international star, Senta Berger never followed the typical glitterati-to-burnout-to-oblivion formula of most of the popular personalities of the day. Senta remained happily married with children for thirty years while enjoying a long career both in Europe and Hollywood, and she is still at it.
It's no wonder that today, Senta Berger is considered a national treasure.
posted by Tom Novak who says that after seeing Senta Berger in The Quiller Memorandum - we are all Berliners now!