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Light in the Piazza (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 9 February 1962 (USA)
Upper class Americans Noel and Meg Johnson have a twenty-six year old daughter named Clara Johnson. Clara suffered a head injury as a child which resulted in her being mentally disabled. ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Miss Hawtree
The Minister
Signora Naccarelli


Upper class Americans Noel and Meg Johnson have a twenty-six year old daughter named Clara Johnson. Clara suffered a head injury as a child which resulted in her being mentally disabled. Clara's mental capacity is equivalent to that of a ten year old. In many social situations, Clara's disability can be passed off as a simple joy of life. The issue of Clara's care has placed a strain between Noel and Meg, the latter who clings to the hope that one day Clara can lead a "normal" life. While on an extended vacation through Italy, Meg and Clara meet a twenty-three year old Italian named Fabrizio Naccarelli in Florence. Fabrizio is instantly smitten with Clara, who returns the affection. Always protecting Clara, Meg initially resists Fabrizio's constant measures to insinuate himself into their lives. But as Meg learns more about Fabrizio and meets his family, Meg begins to believe a marriage between Fabrizio and Clara is Clara's chance for that normal life, all the while not telling the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Were they too late for the things their hearts demanded? See more »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 February 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ena fos sto skotadi  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$553,280 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Last film produced by Arthur Freed. See more »


On the door mat in the lobby of the US Consulate there's an inscription reading "American Consulate". An official body would, of course, use only the official name of the country: the United States of America - or its abbreviation, the USA. See more »


Meg Johnson: Nobody with a dream should come to Italy. No matter how dead and buried you think it is, in Italy, it will rise and walk again.
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User Reviews

An intelligent tear-jerker! Now a Tony Award Winning Musical on B'way!
1 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

Compared to the other sentimental tear-jerkers of the late 1950s and early 1960s this is way above average. Olivia de Havilland provides another outstanding pivotal performance that brings extraordinary intelligence and credibility that more than compensates for any weaknesses in the story. All of the supporting performances are excellent, including wonderful work by George Hamilton and Yvette Mimieux who seem so natural and unforced, and so unlike most of their other performances. The Italian locations and production are gorgeous! The story is quite original and avoids so many of the clichés of the time. The dialogue is intelligent and unsentimental, allowing the performances to create the pain and joy. De Havilland's role is quite progressive in the portrayal of a mother willing to take risks to allow her retarded daughter to have a chance at happiness.

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