They tell in Tossa de Mar that while Ava Gardner participated in May 1950 in the filming of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman , Albert Lewin’s film that marked the beginning of international tourism on the Costa Brava, the singer and actor Frank Sinatra, who was having an extramarital affair with the actress at the time, appeared in Tossa with six boxes of Coca Cola, an arsenal of chewing gums and an emerald necklace valued at $ 10,000 for the actress. The reason for that lightning trip was the gossip that reached him from the other side of the Atlantic of a supposed case between Gardner with the bullfighter, poet and actor Mario Cabré, co-star in Pandora.
“Ava Gardner has cried for a bullfighter” or “The poems that Mario Cabré dedicates to Ava Gardner” were some of the headlines that could be read in the magazine Frames of April 28 and statements by Cabré such as “I would marry Ava the Spanish way, as God intended,” reached the newsrooms in New York and Los Angeles. Sinatra would deny after his trip to the press “no love affair” and Cabré said “I did not know him personally nor did I run away from him.” A case that in life they never confirmed or denied their protagonists, who misled the press with their ambiguous statements. But in the book of her memoirs, published the year of her death, the actress acknowledged that the idyll she had with the bullfighter was reduced to one night.
The Catalan town commemorates the premiere of ‘Pandora and the Flying Dutchman’ with an exhibition
The love triangle was one more incentive of a shoot that woke up the town of Tossa de Mar, then eminently fishing, from the post-war lethargy. Many neighbors participated as extras in the film for which they received “25 pesetas a day, a good salary then,” according to the film fan Lluís Molinas.
The film, which apart from Tossa was also shot in Palamós, Platja d’Aro, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, s’Agaró and Girona, was released in the United States in 1951 and a year later it arrived in Spain. The local historian, Mario Zucchitello, explains that the premiere placed Tossa and by extension the Costa Brava on the tourist map. “At that time there was already a certain elite tourism, but the film brought a more massive tourism attracted, among other things, by the idyllic landscape,” he explains.
Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the film’s theatrical release, the Tossa de Mar City Council has organized a series of events such as a photographic exhibition of the making off of Pandora, the screening of the film on Gran Beach and the restaurateurs offer a vermouth and a dessert inspired by the protagonists of this story that gave the municipality great publicity: Sinatra flan, a homemade dessert bathed in Tennessee whiskey, a drink inseparable from Ava, flambé, and Pandora vermouth based on whiskey, red vermouth, angostura or orange bitter and soda.