Anthology film about three owners of a yellow Rolls-Royce. A British diplomat buys the car for his French wife. A mobster's girlfriend has an affair in Italy. A US woman drives a Yugoslav partisan to Ljubljana on the eve of Nazi invasion.
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Michael J. Pollard
Three stories about the lives and loves of those who own a certain yellow Rolls-Royce: **First purchased by the Marquess of Frinton for his wife as a belated anniversary present, the Marchiness finds her own use for the vehicle - one which prompts her husband to sell the car in disgust. **Gangster Paolo Maltese's moll, Mae, thinks the Rolls is a "classy" car in which to tour Paolo's home town in Italy. When Paolo is called away to the States to finish some "business", a bored Mae takes the Rolls on a spin through the country, enjoying both the sights and the handsome Italian photographer who crosses her path. **By the outbreak of World War II, the car has come into the possession of socialite Gerda Millet. While on her way to visit Yugoslavian royalty, Gerda and the Rolls become (at first) unwitting and then (eventually) most willing participants in the Yugoslavian fight. Written by
The Rolls-Royce used in the film was a pale blue 1930 Phantom II Sedanca de Ville, which M-G-M technicians covered with 20 coats of yellow paint; a few coats of black were added to the top of the hood, the roof, and the wings. See more »
In the opening titles, the roofs of modern cars can be seen as the camera pans along Hyde Park. See more »
After the success of "The V.I.P.s" the year before, Anthony Asquith and Terence Rattigan are at it again with uneven results. The excuse this time is a Rolls Royce that passes hands from star to star. It is a formula used before many times, most successfully in Julian Duvivier's "Tales of Manhattan" in which a dinner jacket plays an important part in the destinies of Edward G Robinson, Charles Laughton, Henry Fonda and Paul Robson among others. More recently the formula was used by John Badham in his "The Gun" and then Martin Donovan in the lyrically powerful "Seeds of Tragedy" in which the Rolls Royce there is cocaine. Terence Rattigan was master at dialogue and his characters tended to move in confined spaces, take "Separated Tables" for instance. In "The Yellow Rolls Royce" we travel from England to Italy to Eastern Europe and the only confinement Rattigan finds for his characters is the interior of the luxury car. On the first segment, Rex Harrison and Jeanne Moreau show Rattigan at his best, they are great fun to watch. Harrison, playing a big shot at the foreign office, does wonderful things with Rattigan's words. On the second episode Shirley MacLaine and Art Cartney are lovely as a gangster's moll and her minder but the Italo-American gangster, as played by George C Scott, is so over the top that, practically, sinks the whole little segment. French star Alain Delon plays an Italian gigolo of sorts. He is beautiful to look at but hopeless at delivering Rattigan's lines. On the third episode Ingrid Bergman plays Ingrid Bergman, beautifully and Omar Shariff plays Omar Shariff, just as beautifully. Joyce Grenfell plays a cameo as Bergman's companion, as usually, when she's on, she steals the scene. As you may have gathered, this is the kind of picture that one would enjoy the most on a rainy Sunday afternoon. That in itself is a recommendation.
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