Chanel, Hélène

the most famous actresses of the Italian genre cinema
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Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 11:24

Hélène Chanel in 7 uomini e un cervello (1968)
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With stunning blue eyes and usually blonde, Hélène Chanel was a gifted actress and comedienne who began her career in French films in 1959 and was active in Italian films from 1960 until her retirement in the late 1970's.

According to all online sources she was born Hélène Stoliaroff (or Stoharoff) in Deauville, France on June 12th 1941. Some sources say she was of Russian descent and that she had a sister, Nicole. She is still living at the time of writing.

I have found mentions in books that she started out as a teenage model in France. Hélène began her acting career with appearances in two French films in 1959, one a small role, in the other, Détournement de mineures, she played the lead. It appears that she originally intended to use the name "Chancel" as her pseudonym, but adopted "Chanel" instead after it was mis-spelled in the Italian publicity for the film.

It would seem that she caught the eye of Italian star Ugo Tognazzi, who she appeared opposite in 6 films between 1960-61, graduating from supporting roles to playing the female lead in Tu che ne dici?. I think it is safe to assume that she relocated to Italy at this time, where her career was based from then on. She also became romantically linked to Tognazzi, which is verified by many images of the pair to be found online and is mentioned in the biography on Tognazzi's official website. From images online it also appears she may have been romantically involved with actor Alberto Lupo at some point in the early 60's.

While she continued to play comedic roles throughout her career, from 1961 she also began appearing in more dramatic parts, notably in the peplum genre where she became one of the genres most in demand stars. When the popularity of peplums declined in the middle of the decade she remained a popular draw in major roles in eurospies and spaghetti westerns, on a few occasions using the pseudonym "Sherill Morgan". Additionally she also made some appearances in fotoromanzi during this period.

Sadly from the start of the 70's, like many actresses of her generation, the size and quality of her roles declined. She soldiered on through most of the decade, finally calling it a day with her last known appearance being in Mogliamante in 1977, at the age of 36. She confirmed in a recent TV interview that her reasons for retirement were similar to the reasons given by Rosalba Neri, in that she was unhappy with the variety and quality of the roles she was offered.

Not much is known of her life following her retirement, but one article I found says that she ran a "thriving tourist business" with her husband. She does maintain a low-key presence on Facebook under her real name (and is a member of my Peplum Paradise group there). Since it seems she prefers to maintain her anonymity with only a small group of online friends, then I will respect that and will not provide links. Her profile picture shows that she is still beautiful after all these years.

I think it is unlikely that there will be much to be found in the way of undocumented appearances, but I have been proved wrong in the past so remain optimistic to the possibility.


Filmography
1959
  1. Détournement de mineures .... Christine (credited as "Hélène Chancel")
  2. Les dragueurs .... Party guest (credited as "Hélène Stoliaroff")

    1960
  3. Genitori in blue-jeans .... Nuri (credited)
  4. Il mio amico Jekyll .... Rossana (credited as "Helen Chanel")
  5. Le olimpiadi dei mariti .... Elke (credited)
  6. Tu che ne dici? .... Stella (credited)
  7. Un dollaro di fifa .... Alice Perkins (credited)

    1961
  8. 5 marines per 100 ragazze .... Elena (credited)
  9. Gerarchi si muore .... Italia (credited)
  10. La ragazza sotto il lenzuolo .... Dolly (credited)
  11. Maciste alla corte del Gran Khan .... Liu-Tai (credited)

    1962
  12. Colpo gobbo all'italiana .... French tourist (credited)
  13. I tre nemici .... Jacqueline (credited as "Helen Chanel")
  14. La monaca di Monza .... Catarina (credited)
  15. Lasciapassare per il morto .... Hélène (credited)
  16. Maciste all'inferno .... Martha Gaunt / Fania (credited)

    1963
  17. Avventura al motel .... Madame de Sèvres (credited as "Helen Chanel")
  18. L'invincibile cavaliere mascherato .... Carmencita (credited)
  19. La donna degli altri è sempre più bella .... Donna Rossana (credited)
  20. Le verdi bandiere di Allah .... Rosalana (credited)

    1964
  21. Due mafiosi nel Far West .... Betty Blanc (credited)
  22. Ercole, Sansone, Maciste e Ursus gli invincibili .... Astra (credited)
  23. Il dominatore del deserto .... Zaira (credited)
  24. La valle dell'eco tonante .... Farida (credited)

    1965
  25. Asso di picche - Operazione controspionaggio .... Pat (credited)
  26. Il conquistatore di Atlantide .... Queen Ming (credited)
  27. Le notti della violenza .... Carla Pratesi (credited)

    1966
  28. Agente segreto 777 - Invito ad uccidere .... Jeanne Cartier (credited)
  29. Duello nel mondo .... Mary Brightford (credited as "Sherill Morgan")
  30. Ischia operazione amore .... Beatrice Dinelli (credited)
  31. L'arcidiavolo .... Clarice (credited as "Sherill Mogan")
  32. Le piacevoli notti .... Violante (uncredited)

    1967
  33. Cjamango .... Pearl Hernandez (credited)
  34. Con lui cavalca la morte .... Dolores Talbot (credited)
  35. Due rrringos nel Texas .... Sentenza Jane (credited)
  36. Il coraggioso, lo spietato, il traditore .... The woman (credited)
  37. Killer calibro 32 .... Dolly (credited as "Sherill Morgan")
  38. Nel sole .... Ivana Vannucci (credited as "Helen Chanel")

    1968
  39. 7 uomini e un cervello .... Georgette (credited)

    1969
  40. La legge dei gangsters .... Contessa Elena Villani (credited as "Elene Chanel")
  41. La morte bussa due volte .... Angela (credited as "Helen Chanel")
  42. Un posto all'inferno .... Betsy (credited as "Helen Chanel")

    1970
  43. Edipeon .... Role? (poster credit)
  44. La ragazza del prete .... TV presenter (credited)

    1972
  45. Boccaccio .... Princess of Civigni (credited as "Helen Chanel")

    1973
  46. Gli amici degli amici hanno saputo .... Suzette (credited)

    1975
  47. Labbra di lurido blu .... Elli's mother (uncredited)
  48. Lo sgarbo .... Lady White (credited)

    1976
  49. Il bocconcino .... Michela (credited as "Elene Chanel")
  50. Stangata in famiglia .... Corinne (credited as "Helen Chanel")

    1977
  51. Mogliamante .... Landlady (credited as "Helen Stoliaroff")
Note: Like the spelling of her name, the accents above the "E"'s in her name seem to change very randomly among her credits - many films omit them completely. I haven't included these variations as being spelling differences, but they can be seen in the screen shots provided throughout her topic for anyone interested.
Last edited by PeplumParadise on 31/05/2021, 10:21, edited 21 times in total.

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Re: Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 11:34

Les dragueurs (1959) credited as Hélène Stoliaroff, as Party guest.

This is one of 2 French productions in which Hélène appeared in 1959. Since this one is only a bit part while the other is a major role, then I would guess at this one being her film debut. It was one of only 2 occasions when she was credited under her real surname, the other being her final film appearance in Mogliamante in 1977.
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Re: Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 11:48

Détournement de mineures (1959) credited as Hélène Chancel, as Christine.

This was Hélène's second French production of 1959 and here she has the lead role and was featured prominently in the advertising. She was billed as "Hélène Chancel" in the French and English advertising, but mis-spelled as "Helen Chanel" on the Italian poster, which seems to be the reason why the "C" was dropped from her surname once her career shifted to Italy the following year. I have been unable to find a copy of the film, but it is available on DVD in France so hopefully we will be able to add images before too long.
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Re: Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 11:59

Genitori in blue-jeans (1960) credited, as Nuri.

This looks to have been the first of the 6 productions in which Hélène appeared opposite Ugo Tognazzi in 1960-61. Here she has more of a supporting role, but still makes a notable impression among an ensemble cast featuring many of the up-and-coming actresses working in Italy in that period.
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Re: Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 12:03

Il mio amico Jekyll (1960) credited as Helen Chanel, as Rossana.

Once again she holds her own among a strong ensemble cast.
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Re: Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 12:11

Le olimpiadi dei mariti (1960) credited, as Elke.

This is a less prominent role than her other films that year opposite Tognazzi, but she still shines whenever she is on screen showing comic talent as one of a pair of German girls holidaying in Italy (the other played by Anna Rasmussen). Interestingly she seems to be wearing the same dress here that she wore in Détournement de mineures, which would tend to indicate that she provided her own costume.
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Re: Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 12:19

Un dollaro di fifa (1960) credited, as Alice Perkins.

Hélène has the joint female lead here alongside the more established Leonora Ruffo - they play sisters.
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Re: Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 12:24

Tu che ne dici? (1960) credited, as Stella.

Having rapidly established herself as gifted actress and comic talent, Hélène here gets her first leading role in an Italian production, an opportunity she makes the most of.
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Last edited by PeplumParadise on 30/05/2021, 10:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 12:30

5 marines per 100 ragazze (1961) credited, as Elena.

In the last of her run of films opposite Tognazzi, Hélène has the second female lead behind Virna Lisi.
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Re: Chanel, Hélène

Post by PeplumParadise » 29/05/2021, 12:36

Gerarchi si muore (1961) credited, as Italia.

Having established herself as a comic talent to be reckoned with thanks to Ugo Tognazzi, Hélène began to appear in the films of other comic stars of the time. In this case she has the female lead opposite Aldo Fabrizzi and Franco & Ciccio.
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