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The Barefoot Contessa
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The Barefoot Contessa (1954) More at IMDbPro »

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The Barefoot Contessa -- With extraordinary beauty, talent and grace, Spanish dancer Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner) was born to be a star. Aided by American movie director Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart), she attains great success and fortune in Hollywood's land of dreams. But, though she gives her all for stardom, there is one thing Maria will never compromise her soul. No matter what the cost, The Barefoot Contessa will dance to no one's music but her own.


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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz (written by)
View company contact information for The Barefoot Contessa on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 September 1954 (USA) See more »
A girl with many ideas . . . and a man for each ! See more »
At Maria Vargas' funeral, several people recall who she was and the impact she had on them. Harry Dawes... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
(21 articles)
Shield for Murder
 (From Trailers from Hell. 10 June 2016, 7:33 PM, PDT)

Penelope Cruz, Fernando Trueba ready 'The Queen Of Spain'
 (From ScreenDaily. 25 January 2016, 4:40 AM, PST)

Can ‘Spotlight’ Score the Rare Oscar Hat Trick?
 (From Scott Feinberg. 30 November 2015, 6:00 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
Bittersweet tale of success leading to tragedy See more (76 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Humphrey Bogart ... Harry Dawes

Ava Gardner ... Maria Vargas

Edmond O'Brien ... Oscar Muldoon
Marius Goring ... Alberto Bravano

Valentina Cortese ... Eleanora Torlato-Favrini (as Valentina Cortesa)

Rossano Brazzi ... Count Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini

Elizabeth Sellars ... Jerry

Warren Stevens ... 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
John Parrish ... Mr. Max Black
Jim Gérald ... Mr. Blue (as Jim Gerald)
Diana Decker ... Drunken Blonde
Riccardo Rioli ... Gypsy Dancer
Tonio Selwart ... Pretender
Margaret Anderson ... Pretender's Wife
Gertrude Flynn ... Lulu McGee
John Horne ... Hector Eubanks

Bessie Love ... Mrs. Eubanks
Robert Christopher ... Eddie Blake (as Bob Christopher)
Anna Maria Padoan ... Chambermaid (as Anna Maria Paduan)
Carlo Dale ... Chauffeur
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Helena Makowska

Olga San Juan ... Bit Role (uncredited)

Directed by
Joseph L. Mankiewicz 
Writing credits
Joseph L. Mankiewicz (written by)

Produced by
Robert Haggiag .... associate producer
Angelo Rizzoli .... associate producer
Franco Magli .... associate producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Mario Nascimbene 
Cinematography by
Jack Cardiff (photography)
Film Editing by
William Hornbeck 
Set Decoration by
Arrigo Equini (settings)
Costume Design by
Fontana (gowns)
Rosi Gori (uncredited)
Production Management
Forrest E. Johnston .... manager of production
Franco Magli .... associate manager of production
Michal Waszynski .... associate manager of production (as Michael Waszynski)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Bernard Vorhaus .... assistant director (as Piero Mussetta)
Art Department
Italo Tomassi .... manager of art department (uncredited)
Sound Department
A. Charles Knott .... sound recordist (as Charles Knott)
Peter Davies .... sound re-recordist (uncredited)
Claude Hitchcock .... boom operator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Other crew
David Hanna .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Margo Lorenz .... stand-in: Ava Gardner (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
128 min | 130 min (dvd release) (TCM print)
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.75 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Perspecta Sound encoding) (Western Electric Recording)
Argentina:16 | Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | UK:PG | USA:Approved (PCA #17078, General Audience) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Just after Maria's engagement is announced, Harry is in a small town near a seaport talking to a group of men. They are all looking and gesturing off to stage left. Maria drives right up behind the group and sounds the car horn. The group of men continue talking for almost 3 seconds before any of them react to a car horn that is supposedly going off just 5 feet behind them.See more »
Alberto Bravano:[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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Keratas kai... darmenos (1986) (V)See more »


Midwest Premiere Happened When & Where?
See more »
53 out of 82 people found the following review useful.
Bittersweet tale of success leading to tragedy, 4 March 2000
Author: BuddyBoy1961 from Los Angeles, California

Scouting talent for an upcoming film to be shot in Italy, a trio from Hollywood (writer/director Bogart, producer Stevens and publicist O'Brien) travel to Spain to scope renowned local dancing sensation Maria Vargas (Gardner). Immediately, they are struck by her beauty and presence. In fact, Gardner has a profound effect on every man she meets...though the effect is as unique as each man she encounters. Stevens sees a talent to be exploited for all it's worth and O'Brien sees only huge marquees and dollar signs. But Bogart, after a couple of brief but revealing conversations with Maria, sees so much more. Expecting a naive Spanish peasant eager to grab at the brass ring, he finds instead a woman as smart as she is beautiful, whose main motivation is to enjoy the challenge and escape that a Hollywood career might offer a woman who will nevertheless always value the simpler things in life. Even with her inate beauty and uncommon savvy, to Maria's detriment she does not have eyes in the back of her head. Told in flashback the viewer experiences her success in Hollywood and her quest to find the true love of a man (Brazzi) that has always eluded her.

In the hands of Joseph Mankiewicz, "The Barefoot Contessa" frequently bristles with crackling dialogue (would you have expected less?). Unique to this contribution from Mankiewicz is the portent that hangs over the film. As the details of Maria's life are expounded, empathy for her fate increases accordingly. Impeccably well-cast, this is actually an ensemble film. Gardner is luminous as Maria, though she is not solely dependent on her looks to carry the film--she gives a real performance. Bogart is stalwart and sympathetic as Maria's protector. And O'Brien, in an Academy Award-winning turn, is sly and oily as the single-minded publicist who changes allegiances as often as his sweat-soaked shirts. Lensed by the great Jack Cardiff and shot largely in Italy, the European ambiance, as well as the snappy dialogue, push the credibility of the premise a notch or two above so many other so-called exposés of Hollywood excess and pretense.

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Impressed by Mr. Bogart danhawk55
the count's car reevesma
Why did Harry decide not to leave Kirk and work with the other producers razvan_cipca
Why didn't she just have marriage annuled? I would have! SusanJL
Focus On Smoking topat
Guilio Pallatta NewtonFigg
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