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Charlton Heston stars as an American soldier behind Italian lines in World War II. In order to communicate German movements to the Allies, he uses carrier pigeons fitted with messages. As he grows more and more in love with the daughter of the family he stays with, the father accidentally feeds the pigeons to his family for Easter Dinner. Written by
Jeremy Kirk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There are certain actors who should not do comedy and Charlton Heston was one of them. His no nonsense granite personality of integrity was out of place in a film like The Pigeon That Took Rome. The part looks like it was written for Rock Hudson.
Heston does his best however as an infantry officer who together with an Italian speaking sergeant Harry Guardino is sent days before the Allied liberation of Rome into the Eternal City. The cautious Allies want to find out if Hitler really means to evacuate and leave it an open city or will he fight for it.
A prime mover in the underground is Monsignor Arthur Shields at the Vatican playing a character based on the one that was the central figure in the later film The Scarlet and the Black that starred Gregory Peck. He gets Heston and Guardino, disguised as priests, into the home of Salvatore Baccaloni with daughters Elsa Martinelli and Gabriella Pallotta and their little brother Marietto.
That family has its own problems, Pallotta is pregnant via another American who was a flier later killed by the Nazis. She's got to get married and quick and sizes up Guardino as a likely prospect.
With Nazi communication detection techniques Heston is forced to use those old reliable carrier pigeons. But when Baccaloni plans a feast for the daughter he uses those same pigeons that could signal the Allied advance into Rome as disguised quail. What to do?
The only time Heston ever successfully essayed comedy was in the Private War Of Major Benson in which his stern countenance was played against by the kids of the military school and his lady interest Julia Adams. It doesn't work in The Pigeon That Took Rome and a lot of potentially funny stuff just falls flat.
Chuck's next visit to Rome was The Agony And The Ecstacy. He was a much better Michaelangelo than a spy.
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