Rome Adventure (1962)
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You either like Troy Donahue or you don't. I happen to think he's very convincing in Rome Adventure as a young man in love. With his warm speaking voice, he has a nice way of minimizing the embarrassing aspects of the script, and he appears totally committed in his scenes to the act of listening as well as speaking. He exudes an aura of integrity. I believe these are the qualities that made Donahue a "heartthrob" - quite apart from his good looks.
The other actors don't arouse such strong feelings in an audience either for or against, so suffice it to say they are all excellent, and that Suzanne Pleshette is even better than that!
The working title for Rome Adventure was Lovers Must Learn. Watch this movie and you may learn a thing or two about the fine art of love.
I wish this was in DVD.
When in Italy she meets, Don, Troy Donahue (The Godfather Trilogy, Imitation of Life), a graduate student in Architecture, who is working on his thesis, in Italian architecture. They fall madly in love. He had this mistress Lydia, Angie Dickinson(Dressed to Kill). Rossano Brazzi plays this really lovable Italian gentleman (Roberto) whom Prudence meets on her way to Italy. He is really a nice guy and also friends of Don. Don and Prudence go on a tour around Italy by bus and then on his Vespa. It is a beautiful love story!. It is a love story, an old fashion love story as the people in love still sleep in separate beds and rooms. My favorite scenes in this movie are: the fluffy dog, Don playing with a piece of grass and caressing Prudence's face with it, the scenery of Italy, the friendliness of the Italian people, and their "savior de vivre," and ultimately when Don meets Prudence back in the States with this huge candelabra in his hands! I have such good memories of this movies that I have to give it a ten. The chemistry between Pleshette and Donahue is outstanding. They fall in love in real life in this movie. I was very disappointed when Suzanne and Troy were separated after a short marriage, I believe they were married one month. But I guess some love stories only have happy endings in the movies. I have the video, but the video it is not easily available at your rental video store. I highly recommend this gorgeous love story!
Prudence travels to Italy expecting to find independence and the true love. Along her trip, she befriends the experienced and mature Italian Roberto Orlandi (Rossano Brazzi) and the boring student of Etruscology Albert Stillwell (Hampton Fancher). In Rome, Roberto brings Prudence and Albert to the boarding house of and old Countess (Iphigenie Castiglioni).
Prudence finds a job in and American bookstore in Rome and she celebrates with the brokenhearted guest of the Countess Don Porter (Troy Donahue), whose girlfriend Lyda Kent (Angie Dickinson) has just broken up with him and traveled to Switzerland. Prudence and Don spends a holiday touring through Italy and she fall in love with him. But when they return to Rome, Lyda is waiting for Don.
"Rome Adventure" is one of the most romantic films from the 60's. The story is simple and naive, but supported by wonderful landscapes in Italy; a haunting music score with the song "Al Di La"; and the gorgeous Suzanne Pleshette. The witty lines and the voice of Prudence Bell are delightful. Troy Donahue was successful with the women..
The unforgettable music score was a hit in Brazil when I was a child and "Rome Adventure" was a great success in my country. I had seen this film for the last time on 22 April 2001 on VHS and today I have just seen it again on DVD. I like also the Brazilian title, "Candelabro Italiano", meaning "Italian Candlestick", since it represents the integrity and the love of the youngsters. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Candelabro Italiano" ("Italian Candlestick")
Delmer Daves made enjoyable romantic films and Warner Bros. has released Rome Adventure as part of its Romance Classics DVD.
Angie Dickinson, Hampton Fancher and Rosanno Brazzi co star and Chad Everett has a small role. Natalie Wood was announced for this film but refused the film and Natalie Wood's mistake became Suzanne Pleshette's good fortune as Ms. Pleshette assumed the role and had a long romance with Troy Donahue and eventually would marry Mr. Donahue ( and later co star with Troy Donahue in a great Warner Bros. western 'A Distant Trumpet' the last film directed by the legendary Director Raoul Walsh) and become a major star. I love the scene in the bistro where Suzy Pleshette just places her head on Troy's shoulder as Ai Di La plays.
Someday a book will be written on the career of Troy Donahue. A big star, when Troy left WB his career crashed. Troy Donahue blamed an Jack Warner edict that blackballed Troy Donahue from the Industry. True?
Rome Adventure is a great romantic movie and was a smash hit for Warner Bros, Delmer Daves and Troy Donahue.
Bring me back to those days!!
When I watch films from 1960 they bring back that connection to becoming aware. They aren't all my favorite films, but it doesn't matter. When I see pretty much any film from the early 60s I get a jolt. Even if I've never seen the film before, movies that were made in the early 1960s, somehow trigger a response. It's a combination of the hair styles, the fashion, automobiles, the film stock and lighting use of that time, the cast, acting and scoring style. Films from 1960 through about 1962 have this in spades, including "Rome Adventure."
Suzanne Pleshette and Troy Donohue just radiate early 60s like nobody's business, as does Max Steiner's score, the cinemascope cinematography and the dialog. Even watching the credits in combo with Steiner's music swept me back to that era. In this regard the film was a joy to watch. It's very romantic, but you know that going in.
Having said that, essentially, "Rome Adventure" is a travelogue romance, and pretty much nothing more. I enjoyed it but I can't say it was very good. Though it has some of the same cast members, it doesn't hold a candle to Delmer Daves' previous film, "Summer Place." It's no where near as well written and quite shallow by comparison. The visual symbolism (the candelabra, for example, representing Donohue's integrity) was more than heavy-handed. I wonder what most women today would think of the scene where Donohue tells Pleshette that women's role on Earth is to be the anchor for the man? I can understand the meaning behind the thought, but in todays PC environment, the way it was handled in the big love scene at the climax is totally chauvinistic. It comes down to script. It could have been written in a way that suggested Donohue was talking about just he and Pleshette themselves, but the grand gesture of suggesting that the notion that all women were put on earth as the anchors for men is a cage many people (men and women) would bristle at. And the use of Al Hirt gives new meaning to the term "shoe-horned in."
I really enjoy Suzanne Pleshette in most things I've seen her in. She ended up being cast often as the world weary but intelligent woman who harbors an old love. This is exactly the character she plays in Hitchock's "The Birds," losing out to Tippi Hedren for Rod Taylor's love. Pleshette's small role is still one of the most remarkably well-developed of any secondary character in all of Hitch's films. When Rod Taylor discovers what has happened to her during a bird attack, it's a powerfully emotional moment. Amazing how much sympathy she created for herself with so little screen time. Pleshette in "Rome Adventure" doesn't start out playing the world weary woman she became in later films, but she sort of becomes one as the film progresses. Of course, the ending pretty much disregards that concept of her character, but it's there nonetheless.
Troy Donohue, who gave a very good and believable performance in "Summer Place," is pretty wooden here. He's actually the film's greatest flaw, which I find hard to understand. He had the same director and writer as "Summer Place," yet Donohue just doesn't connect. There is little chemistry between he and Pleshette, certainly no fire like he had with Sandra Dee.
The real star of "Rome Adventure" is Italy. It was photographed to look quaint and romantic, but the choice of locations, the time of day and consideration of lighting were all beautifully realized. The film has many similarities to another film from that same year (which also gives me that early 60s jolt), "Light in the Piazza." Rozzano Brazzi, who stars in "Rome Adventure," was also in "Piazza," playing a similar character. In the case of "Piazza," however, he's after the mother (played by Olivia deHavilland). "Piazza" also stars ingénue of the day, Yvette Mimieux and up and coming heart throb, George Hamilton. Hamilton plays an intrinsically happy Italian who falls in love with Mimieux' childlike character. "Piazza" is much more successful as a Euro romance than "Rome Adventure" because its plot takes some truly unexpected turns. "Rome Adventure" unfortunately telegraphs all its surprises along the way.
Yet, in spite of all this, I found there was a lot to enjoy, and I think it's even a film worth revisiting on occasion, if nothing more than to give me another early 60s jolt, but to also re-experience that idyllic world of Rome the filmmakers created.
I'm a red-blooded male who enjoys blood-and-guts action flicks with the best of 'em. "Bombs, bullets, and babes," oh yeah... Yet I turned on the TV one night and this film was just starting, so I watched it. I was mesmerized until the end. The scenery is great, and although I'm not usually too fond of Max Steiner's musical scores, he outdid himself here with a lush hypnotic atmosphere. And oh, what I would give to have an experience like this! I mean, c'mon guys, wouldn't you love to have a thing going with a babe like Suzanne Pleshette, especially in such awesome settings? If not, you must be a total meathead.
To me, the only thing that is weak in this movie is the title, which they could have made a little more interesting. But still, it says it all, and I think that this has got to be one of the most romantic movies ever made. It's never syrupy or sappy. It was made before my time, but 1962 was a good year for it to be released. People did not yet dress like slobs every day. The old sexual stuffiness was loosening up, and the "anything goes" Sexual Revolution had not yet steamrolled everything. In my opinion, the power of life exists when real committed love and uninhibited sexual desire are united in balance. I felt that in this movie.
Delmer Daves was a master at getting the maximum out of his casts, both the talented and the merely decorative. I recall being highly entertained by Constance Ford's witty embodiment of an American shopowner, enjoying her European exile far from the shores of her prudish native land (and so much more sympathetic than that harridan she had to play in Daves' "A Summer Place," unforgettably chewing the proverbial scenery as she terrorized poor Sandra Dee and unrelentingly driving a stolid Richard Egan into the willing arms of Miss Dorothy McGuire!) And in this one I do recall thinking that Angie Dickinson had never been more lovingly photographed, more elegantly made up and coiffed, nor more expensively gowned, playing the spoiled temptress toying with the hapless (or do I mean, hopeless?) Troy Donahue. And let us not forget Suzanne Pleshette with her raven tresses, thoroughly modern good looks, and that throaty voice which fascinated many more, I'm sure, than just this besotted admirer. This kind of escapism, with very few exceptions, is a thing of the past, and I'm not too eager to agree that that's something about which we should have precious few regrets.
Here he's an American artist living in Rome and the girl that falls for him was newcomer Suzanne Pleshette who has left American in search of adventure while clinging to her virtue. If for nothing else we should be eternally grateful for any film that gives us Pleshette who was smart, sexy and beautiful beyond her years but whose career never went anywhere either. There is also an older man in the mix as well, a charming Italian played by ... yes, you guessed it, Rossano Brazzi, (were all middle-aged Italian men like Brazzi?), and a bitch played by Angie Dickinson. (Pleshette acts her off the screen). But the real star of the movie is Italy, photographed in all its Technicolor, travelogue glory pushing the story very much into the background. The Italian tourist board should still be paying Daves royalties.
Another theme was fairly new in 1962: After Suzanne Pleshette meets slinky Angie Dickinson, she fears that she cannot compete with Angie for Troy's love because Angie is more sexually experienced. Yikes! Looks aren't enough anymore! Should Suzanne practice with Mr. Brazzi?
This downside to female virtue was seldom discussed so openly in movies before, probably due to censorship issues, and due to our cultural assumptions. Here, Suzanne worries needlessly, because Troy greets her in NY with the obviously symbolic gold candlestick. The message is clear: these two lovebirds will work it out.
As a warning to young girls, we are shown the downside of experience, namely Angie trapped by a Howard Hughes type control freak. Bottom line: It's OK, they're engaged. Enjoy the mid-century eye candy.
The story itself isn't really that noteworthy. An assistant librarian, Suzanne Pleshette, quits before she is removed from her Connecticut College position when she gives an unauthorized book to a student. Note that Norma Varden, the memorable housekeeper in "The Sound of Music" briefly appears as the college trustee who questions Pleshette at her hearing.
This all sets the stage for Pleshette's trip to Italy where she secures a position in an American bookstore, owned by a former American schoolteacher, the latter got tired of the brats and fell in love with Rome one summer vacation and wired her resignation.
At an inn, Pleshette meets Donahue who has just been thrown over by Angie Dickinson. Amazing that Dickinson got second billing as she basically didn't appear until later in the film. In addition, as an Italian, (of course) Rossano Brazzi was given little to do.
The endearing part of the movie is the plush scenes as we are literally swept into a tour of Italy.
**** Rome Adventure (3/15/62) Delmer Daves ~ Suzanne Pleshette, Troy Donahue, Angie Dickinson, Rossano Brazzi
And, of course, no film about Italy in the '60s would be complete without the suave presence of ROSSANO BRAZZI as the older man that SUSANNE PLESHETTE finds hard to resist. But it's her affair with TROY DONAHUE--the blond Tab Hunter type of the '60s that teen-age girls swooned over--that occupies most of the story. The real life attraction between Pleshette and Donahue is evident in many of their flirtatious scenes. Alas, their good chemistry should have been given a more substantial script.
The "other woman" role is ably played by ANGIE DICKINSON, who wears her stunning outfits to great effect. With all the eye candy going on, it's easy to see why ROME ADVENTURE was an easy pill to swallow.
Max Steiner certainly comes to the rescue with a handsome score, its main source of pleasure being repeated hearings of the song "Al Di La." Summing up: Pleasurable fluff will have you dreaming of a luxurious vacation in the Italian alps.
The word 'Adventure' in the film title is more of the 'adventure' of the heart or hearts. 'Rome' is the perfect location chosen for "Lovers Must Learn," indeed. Max Steiner's music undoubtedly gave the movie the lush and elegant touches, binding the story segments together most melodically. Director Delmer Daves wrote the screenplay based on Irving Fineman's (a Jewish American scholar) novel, and once again showed his masterful hand at romance classics, including dashes of humor and smiles from the dialog exchanges. The inferences to Prudence Bell's 'cultural' hangups, upbringing restraints are not entirely confined to American girls. "But you are special," Don reassured Prue. Don also needed lessons on his frustrating heartaches over Lyda (glamorously portrayed by Angie Dickinson). Rossano Brazzi's Roberto provided the necessary lessons to both girl and boy sides, well-played. (Besides the famous musical "South Pacific," watch Brazzi also in director Jean Negulesco's 1954 "Three Coins in the Fountain" and David Lean's 1955 "Summertime" romancing Katharine Hepburn in Venice). Interwoven are conversational pieces around "capillary attraction" (physics of raindrops), Etruscan archeology (Rosetta stone), even a brief recital from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
"Rome Adventure" is very much a travelogue in itself, you get to see many famous spots of Rome. (Could very well be a good one to familiarize the city of Rome before Ron Howard's "Angels and Demons" with Tom Hanks opening in May 2009.) For the ultimate soap drama, see Delmer Daves' 1961 "Parrish." Noticed Hampton Fancher played Albert Stillwell rather well, quite a departure from seeing him as the irresponsible spoiled brat Edgar Raike in "Parrish," also opposite Troy Donahue. Constance Ford as Daisy Porter of the book shop (with Mr. McGinnis, the shaggy dog) also played the mother to Sandra Dee's character in Dave's 1959 "A Summer Place."
The song "Al-Di-La" sung by Emilio Pericolli in the film can be heard at 00:36:11 mark, thirty-six minutes into the movie, at the dinner restaurant with Prue and Don. He explained 'Al-Di-La' as: "Far, far away. Beyond the beyond. Beyond this world. That's how much he loves her in the song." ROME ADVENTURE is a rich (not at all fluffy) romance drama, worth enjoying and to reminisce.