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 »
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 »
When Harry first meets Maria in her dressing room, her blouse alternates between being on her right shoulder and then down on her arm. See more »
[to Kirk Edwards at the party]
Take a drink, my friend, and say what you have in your heart. But you never drink. You never say. Because you are afraid of what you have in your heart!
See more »
This film covers a lot of the same themes as Sunset Boulevard, though in my opinion that film is more riveting than this one. It's hard to believe Bogart got top billing for this one since this film clearly revolves around Ava Gardner's Maria Vargas. In fact I think you could plug practically anyone world-weary and haggard into Bogart's role and the film wouldn't lose much. I guess they felt they needed his starpower to sell the movie. He just doesn't have much to do in this film. On the other hand Edmond O'Brien is truly memorable as the sweaty publicist. He deserved the Oscar he got for the role. Maria's relationship with Count Favrini seemed a bit rushed but not to the point that it is totally unbelieveable. Afterall Maria's whole life is supposed to be a fairy tale. I wish somehow they could've developed the role of Kirk Edwards. He came across as one-dimensional. This film being so old, there is no commentary to explain the purpose for this or whether it was by design at all. Despite my complaints, I still enjoyed the film and appreciated its message, 8/10.
10 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?