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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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
Ingrid Bergman is terrific in this movie- you owe it to yourself to watch her performance. Omar Sharif gives a good performance in a difficult role that requires both charm and toughness. Rex Harrison gives a memorable and very appealing performance. Ms. Moreau is again one of the most interesting and intriguing actors in moviedom and very watchable. Shirley MacLaine and Alain Delon are both beautiful and their acting is good but their roles are lightweight and superficial- they are there to look beautiful and they do.
Despite the above, and despite high-quality production values and fabulous European scenery, the movie is not very good. The first segment requires your understanding and sympathy for prewar British aristocrats (you probably aren't going to care about such spoiled people of the dilettante class). The second segment is superficial and based on attractiveness of its stars only. The third segment is about 1941-era Yugoslav partisan activity (a footnote in history but brave). I found it impossible to relate to any of the characters in this movie or in its overall concept that centers all of this around an automobile. Love and war as it relates to a car. I don't get it.
There is a big orchestral main theme by Riz Ortolani that I find pompous but its a matter of taste. I much preferred his beautiful theme (also 1964) for the film "The 7th Dawn".
Overall the movie is too slow (or leisurely, depending on your viewpoint) and the result can be dullness and indifference for some viewers, but you should watch the third segment anyway in order to experience a truly wonderful acting performance by Ingrid Bergman. Also worthwhile to watch Rex Harrison in the first segment, at his most appealing "My Fair Lady" era peak.
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