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The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 6,072 users  
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At Maria Vargas' funeral, several people recall who she was and the impact she had on them. Harry Dawes was a not very successful writer/director when he and movie producer Kirk Edwards ... See full summary »

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Title: The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

The Barefoot Contessa (1954) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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George and Catherine Apley of Boston lead a proper life in the proper social circle, as did the Apleys before them. When grown daughter Eleanor falls in love with Howard (from New York!), ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Ronald Colman, Vanessa Brown, Richard Haydn
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Marius Goring ...
...
Eleanora Torlato-Favrini (as Valentina Cortesa)
...
...
...
Kirk Edwards
Franco Interlenghi ...
Pedro Vargas
Mari Aldon ...
Myrna
Alberto Rabagliati ...
Proprietor
Enzo Staiola ...
Busboy
Maria Zanoli ...
Maria's Mother
Renato Chiantoni ...
Maria's Father
Bill Fraser ...
J. Montague Brown
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Storyline

At Maria Vargas' funeral, several people recall who she was and the impact she had on them. Harry Dawes was a not very successful writer/director when he and movie producer Kirk Edwards scouted her at a shabby nightclub where she worked as a flamenco dancer. He convinces her to take a chance on acting and her first film is a huge hit. PR man Oscar Muldoon remembers when Maria was in court supporting her father who was accused of murdering her mother. It was Maria's testimony that got him off and she was a bigger star than ever. Alberto Bravano, one of the richest men is South America, sets his sights on Maria she goes off with him - as much to make Edwards angry as anything - but he treats her badly. When she meets Count Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini they fall deeply in love. They are married but theirs is not to be a happy life. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

count | dancer | nightclub | millionaire | love | See more »

Taglines:

A girl with many ideas . . . and a man for each ! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

29 September 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La condesa descalza  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (dvd release) (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Perspecta Sound encoding) (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name "Lloyd Richards" appears on the marquee of Maria's first film. "Lloyd Richards" is the name of Margo Channing's playwright friend in All About Eve (1950), also by written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. See more »

Goofs

Harry addresses Maria's dressing room with a lit cigarette in his right hand. In the next shot the cigarette is in his mouth. See more »

Quotes

Alberto Bravano: To make a hundred dollars into a hundred and ten dollars - this is work. To make a hundred million into a hundred and ten million, this is inevitable.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Pauw & Witteman: Episode #5.139 (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Interesting depiction of a Hollywood goddess
30 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ava Gardner is beautiful Spanish dancer Maria Vargas who is discovered and given a Hollywood contract in "The Barefoot Contessa," also starring Humphrey Bogart, Edmund O'Brien, Rossanno Brazzi, Marius Goring, and Valentina Cortese. Written and directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, the story is supposedly based on Rita Hayworth, who turned down the role. There are some similarities - the Spanish roots, the dancing angle, the studio head who desires her but doesn't get her, a la Harry Cohn, and the great sadness of her life. The famous story about Rita is that her first husband, Edward Judson, was nothing more than a pimp, though he is the man who turned her into a movie star. He demanded that she have sex with Harry Cohn, and Rita refused time and time again. Finally, Judson made a date for himself and Rita to go on a boat trip with Cohn, and Judson cancelled at the last minute, leaving Rita alone with the studio head. She still didn't go to bed with him.

The story begins at Maria's funeral and is told in flashback by the various men who were in her life. Most of the narration is provided by the Bogart character, writer-director Harry Dawes, who had a unique relationship with Maria - he cared for her deeply and was always there to listen to her and advise her. Maria was a woman whose life was lived as a barefoot Cinderella looking for her prince. Harry has a sixth sense about things, and when Maria is about to marry the man she believes to be her prince, Count Torlati-Favrini, Harry starts to worry. He knows that, as is often pointed out in the film, real life is much more erratic than a movie script.

Edmund O'Brien gives a terrific, Oscar-winning performance as a yes man/publicist who does all the talking for the studio head, Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens). Bogart is excellent, but he does not have a great role; although he has top billing, he doesn't even have the starring role. One suspects he's there for box office pull.

The dialogue has been praised here - Mankiewicz was one of the great dialogue writers, but I found some of the dialogue in this a little pretentious and the pace slow. It's an interesting story, but for me it doesn't compare with "All About Eve" and "Letter to Three Wives" in script or in pace.

The star of the film is Ava Gardner. For this writer, Gardner and Hayworth were ultimate sex symbol/movie stars - gorgeous, sexy, exciting women. Around 32 here and living the wild life she always did, Gardner is breathtaking to look at. After the beginning of the film, she drops the Spanish accent, but she more than makes up for that in presence. Like Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth, she was one of those actresses whose appearance and private life often received more publicity than her actual acting - but Ava could act. There was always something uninhibited, earthy, sexy, and inherently honest about her performances - and she was that way as a woman, too. I highly recommend her autobiography to anyone who hasn't read it.

To see this marvelous cast and especially to see them in something written and directed by a fine artist like Mankiewicz is worth it, even if it's a little flawed. Nobody's perfect.


24 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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