Giallo’s, Germans & A Giant Gorilla – Remembering Evelyne Kraft (1951 – 2009)

Posted in Remember by - September 02, 2015
Giallo’s, Germans & A Giant Gorilla – Remembering Evelyne Kraft (1951 – 2009)

Blonde and beautiful with piercing blue eyes, Evelyne Kraft only appeared in eleven movies in her nine year career. With a degree of talent and stunning looks, her brief output took her from Europe to China, where she left a lasting impression in one particular cult movie.

Born in Russia on April 11th 1951, Kraft made her debut in the cult 1972 giallo ‘The French Sex Murders’, which had Humphrey Bogart lookalike Robert Sacchi play an inspector on the trail of a Parisian prositute killer, who is now disposing of the witnesses to his crime. An enjoyable if plodding movie, 21 year old Evelyne had the small role of a professor’s daughter and appeared here alongside seasoned sex-symbols Barbara Bouchet, Rosalba Neri and Anita Ekberg. A Swiss smuggling drama called ‘The Manufacturers’ (’73) came next and was soon followed by a couple of popular German comedies; ‘Superbug, the Wild One’ (’73) and ‘Superbug, the Craziest Car in the World’ (’75). Co-starring as a mechanic in the first and then a nun in the latter, these family movies were harmless fun, featuring a Herbie style Volkswagen complete with gadgets and the ability to fly. Next was a spot on television with an appearance in a 1975 episode of the long-running German serial ‘The Police Inspector’.

1977 saw Evelyne in Hong Kong in which she was contracted to appear in two upcoming Shaw Brothers productions. The first, ‘3 Deadly Angels’ was an entertaining ‘Charlie’s Angels’ knock-off which had Kraft as Eve, a British agent in Hong Kong who recruits a trio of kung-fu babes to take on a ruthless gang of smugglers. A pretty good exploiter, it would be her second Hong Kong production however, that would find an enduring appeal, and become the movie that Evelyne would be most fondly remembered for. In an aim to outdo Dino de Laurentiis’s recent King Kong remake, the Shaw Brothers made the wholly enjoyable adventure ‘Goliathon’ (later known as ‘Mighty Peking Man’), and although silly at times it ultimately proved to have a real heart to it. Looking gorgeous in her ‘struggling-to-stay-on’ fur bikini, Kraft was ideal as Samantha the orphaned child who’s been raised by a giant gorilla, who in turn is later captured by some greedy fortune hunters. An ambitious production that co-starred prolific Hong Kong actor Danny Lee, it’s become a justified cult picture and has been a guilty pleasure of mine for many years. Back in Europe and rounding out her busiest year, Evelyne played the title role of a modern-day vampire in the German comedy-horror ‘Lady Dracula’ (’77), a mostly dull effort featuring a cameo from Stephen Boyd, whose final movie this was.

Following the saucily-titled ‘Oh, LaLa, The Little Blondes Are Here’ (’77), a military romp with Olivia Pascal, Kraft bared all in ‘The Fifth Commandment’ (’78), a German drama starring Helmut Berger which charted the downfall of two conniving brothers in 1930’s Germany. After a brief hiatus Evelyne’s final screen appearance came playing an undercover terrorist in the solid if overlong actioner ‘Assassination Attempt’ (’81), alongside Curd Jürgens and Alain Delon.

After retiring to marry a real-estate heir, Kraft devoted her later years to animal charities, global poverty and family life, which included starting a timber company in the mid 1990’s. Sadly and unexpectedly though, Evelyne’s life was tragically cut short when she died suddenly of heart failure, in Zurich, Switzerland on January 13th 2009. She was only 57. A kind, compassionate lady with a wholesome likability, Kraft had no regrets about her short though varied career, and used her limited talents to create a handful of characters and one memorable jungle queen.

Favourite Movie: Goliathon
Favourite Performance: Goliathon

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