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 »
Matt Brennan runs into Jo Holloway, the Red Cross girl he romanced in Europe when he was a flyer in World War II, when he is offered a job by jet manufacturer Leland Willis as a test pilot.... See full summary »
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
Mankiewicz wanted James Mason, whom he had just directed in "Julius Caesar," for the part of the nobleman. MGM executive Nicholas Schenck, who had had a vehement disagreement with the director, would not release Mason for the film. According to Mankiewicz, he ended up with Rossano Brazzi, "who cannot act, cannot be sensual... could hardly speak English..." Ironically, Rosemary Matthews, who was hired to help Brazzi with his English, and Mankiewicz later married. See more »
Standing in the rain at Maria's funeral, Harry's raincoat is notably more drenched before Oscar's dissertation than afterward, when the lapels are suddenly dry. See more »
[to Kirk Edwards]
How many millions have you in tax-exempt bonds, and oil wells whose power of production your government so generously protects, while it denies similar benefits to the human brain?
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While in the burial of Countess Torlato-Favrini (Ava Gardner), her friend Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart) and the Count Vincenzo Torlato- Favrini (Rossano Brazzi) recall parts of her past. When the wealthy Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens) hires director and screenplay writer Harry Dawes, they travel to Spain with the public relations Oscar Muldoon to see the dancer of a nightclub Maria Vargas and invite her for an audition, since they need a new face for their next movie. Maria, a naive woman with simple origins, is convinced by Harry to go to Hollywood and becomes a famous star and a close friend of Harry and his girlfriend Jerry (Elizabeth Sellars). Along her successful career, Maria lives personal dramas including lack of adaptation for her new lifestyle, is unable to love and is disputed by the powerful millionaires Kirk Edwards and Alberto Bravano (Marius Goring). When she meets the noble and handsome Count Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini (Rossano Brazzi) in the French Riviera, she believes that she found her prince charming and her life becomes a fairy tale. But after the wedding, she sees that her Cinderella's castle of dreams has become a pumpkin.
"The Barefoot Contessa" is another movie of the great director Joseph L. Mankiewicz where, like in "All About Eve", the backstage of the lifestyle of Hollywood of the 50's is disclosed without any glamor, full of betrayals, ambition and manipulation, where lives are destroyed by cynic and powerful people. Ava Gardner steals this movie with her astonishing beauty, Humphrey Bogart is excellent as usual and Edmond O'Brien won the Oscar. This melodramatic story has also a great cinematography and locations, and in spite of some moments of "soap-opera", it is a good film. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "A Condessa Descalça" ("The Barefoot Countess")
Note: On 01 May 2012, I saw this film again on DVD.
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