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Former sex goddess Gina Lollobrigida is a gorgeous 40ish redhead in
this screwball comedy set in Italy in 1968.
La Lollo plays the mother of the lovely Janet Margolin, whose American soldier father was supposedly killed during World War II. The thing is, Gina isn't sure who the father was, since she was friendly with three soldiers at the time, (played by Peter Lawford, Phil Silvers and Telly Savalas), and all are very much alive. Each of the three thinks he is the father and has been financially supporting the girl in secret for over 20 years. Trouble and hilarity ensue when the three men and their wives return to the Italian village for an Army reunion, and Gina has to juggle all six of them while keeping her daughter from finding out the truth.
It's a funny script that hearkens back to Hollywood's great screwball comedies, with especially good jobs from Silvers and Savalas and Shelley Winters and Lee Grant as their wives. But it's Gina who steals the show with her glamorous mugging.
As of 1/24/2007. I absolutely loved the movie, viewing it from the
frame of mind of that era, versus what extreme technology, effects and
scripting of the present. I can absolutely say how FUNNY and Hilarious
it was to view!
I had watched this movie on the T.M.C. and wasn't really knowing of Ms Gina L acting and performance, as well as her beauty! I just found myself rolling on the floor as well as witnessing the close calls of the three men she was juggling around and detouring them from her daughter. It was really cool to see the stars of the days then, and view the Italian parts and its people of that time.
Though this movie may slammed by others, my own input is that: I LOVED IT! From Ms G.L. to S.Winters, T.Savales, P.Silvers, P.Lawford and the rest of the unmentioned great ones as well. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my own comment and view...Joaquin.
One of the best comedies ever made, full of comic details, non-stop hilarity, one of those rare movies that can be seen again and again and it gets better every time. A comedy that doesn't insult human dignity or intellect, full of interesting characters and vignettes, and a lot of emotion too. Not surprisingly, the acting is fabulous when the writing is good. Everyone gives a memorable performance. It doesn't get any better than this. Funniest lines: "In the Piazza", "Doesn't do windows", "Campbell is a noble name". "Is mom going to sing?" "Grazie, grazie very much". "A few Berlitz lessons, and...". "So many of you left a little something here". Lolobgrigida, Winters and Savalas are priceless. The tune by Ortolani fits the movie perfectly. I first saw it in 1969, then in 1983. After so many years it doesn't get stale. That's what I call a classic.
La Lollabrigida is magnificent as Carla Campbell who had a baby from a G. I.
during World War II, but didn't know which of three possible American
soldiers it was, so she writes each telling him the son is his. And they
all faithfully send child support -- for twenty years. With Phil Silvers,
Shelly Winters, Lee Grant, Telly Savalas and Lee Grant on hand, this could
easily have gone way overboard into silly farce. Instead, it blends its
pathos, drama, and comedy as seamlessly as it blends its gorgeous Italian
landscapes and backdrops with its Hollywood sound-stages. Savalas and Grant
are particularly good as the most interesting of the three couples but all
are good. Janet Margolin does a good job of giving us a feel for Gina and
the Italian actor that plays Gina's faithful friend is marvelous in his few
Highly recommended. 9/10.
I had never even heard of this film until watching it the other
morning. What a wonderful, racy for it's time sort of film. I loved
absolutely everything about it. The characters, who would have thought
to have placed those actors together. Compliments. The scenery was
perfect and warm. Keeping the locals involved made it all the better. I
am telling everyone about this film. Believe me, as not being a
movie/TV watcher, this film stole my heart completely. Thank you AMC
for showing it.
The music was outstanding also. What a fantastic upbeat film with a wonderful message. Love, love loved it.
In the '50s and '60s, perhaps thanks to the success of Neo-Realistic
cinema, Italian actors and locations became quite popular in American
movies, especially comedies (the amusing It Started in Naples, starring
Sophia Loren and Clark Gable, is one example worth revisiting). Buona
Sera, Mrs. Campbell, with the always lovely Gina Lollobrigida playing
the main role, is probably one of the funniest hybrids of US and
Lollobrigida plays Carla Campbell, a widow who supposedly lost her husband during WWII. She lives in the South of Italy and provides for her daughter Gia (Janet Margolin) all by herself. It's all fine until a group of soldiers who fought in Italy during the war returns for a reunion and the truth is slowly unveiled: there is no Mr. Campbell, Carla having made him up since she slept with three different men (Telly Savalas, Phil Silvers and Peter Lawford) and doesn't know which of them is Gia's father. To complicate things even more, she told all three of them the girl is their daughter. In other words: mix-ups and misunderstandings are inevitable.
The story is extremely simple and a very good premise for a comedy, so good no one has ever tried to remake it (well, if you don't count the ABBA musical Mamma Mia!, which has a similar plot). Then again, it might be hard to pull off something like it nowadays (unless the setting was some place where paternity tests don't exist) - its look on adultery isn't exactly PC (and yet it was released while the Hays Code was still functional). Still, the gags come sharp and fast, particularly when Savalas and Silvers are on screen, and Lollobrigida is, as ever, a beauty to watch and hear. Margolin isn't bad either, whereas Lawford's subdued performance doesn't really sit well with the quick wit and great physical comedy delivered by his two rivals. But that's a minor flaw in a film that doesn't show up very often, but when it does, it truly is worth catching. Where else are you going to hear Lollobrigida explain that she called herself Campbell, like a soup brand, because the only other American name she knew was Coca-Cola?
Gina Lollobrigida plays a "widow" in Italy with a teenage daughter
played by Janet Margolin. In reality Gina was never married but had, in
the 1940s, sex with three different Army men (Telly Savalas, Phil
Silvers and Peter Lawford) who all believe they're the father! Now
they're all coming to town for a reunion and things go crazy.
Light, breezy comedy beautifully filmed on location in Italy. It has a good cast all doing very well in their roles. The standouts are Lollobrigida who is very beautiful and surprisingly good at comedy; Silvers who gets laughs from the stupidest lines and Shelley Winters who is hysterical as his overbearing wife. The only bad acting is by Margolin and Lee Grant as Savalas' wife--but she isn't given much to work with. And there's some hysterically bad process shots when people are riding cars. But these are minor complaints. This is just a silly, fun comedy.
Hard to believe that this was once considered risqué. It was originally rated M (which is the R rating today). It's now been lowered to a PG. I admit is DOES make adultery look OK but who's going to take this film seriously? Recommended. I give it an 8.
I just saw a trailer for a new 2008 film called MUMMA MIA starring
Meryl Streep in the Gina Lollobrigida role! Another remake!
Well this original from 1968 is a very funny film, and I guess, an extension of the 'caper comedy' style so popular in the mid-60s. I haven't seen the famous multi paneled trailer (sounds very Mad Mad Mad World) but we are in the cine-world of other adult level all star 'wacky marital mix-ups' with phrase titles like DIVORCE American STYLE, WHAT A WAY TO GO, NOT WITH MY WIFE YOU DON'T, BOY DID I GET A WRONG NUMBER etc, each the American idea of farce: yelling and door slamming. However, unlike some of those mentioned above MRS CAMPBELL is genuinely hilarious. In fact today would still make a good play, if it wasn't one already. I believe however it was an original screenplay by Melvin Frank who had already excelled with many 40s and 50s comedies and in the early 60s with LI'L ABNER and later with A TOUCH OF CLASS in '73. I clearly remember sitting in a large suburban cinema with a very entertained crowd roaring with laughter and marveling at how gorgeous Lollobrigida was then. Lee Grant as always is superb as someone's wife and moaning Shelley Winters is a great foil even for comedy against Phl Silvers and Telly Savalas. Even the horrible presence of bland and pointless Peter Lawford cannot spoil the clever comedy storyline of this uproarious well written heartfelt comedy. The charming and catchy theme song still plays in my head. Forgotten by 1970 and much unappreciated today, MRS CAMPBELL is by far the best of late 60s all star marriage farces and deserves a big new century DVD release. It makes you realize how these 60s films really knew how to entertain. It also makes one realize how far Holllywood has strayed from what worked. No wonder adults don't bother with going to the cinema much in 2005. However, even if this film was remade today with 2005 swearing and punching it would still be funny, such is the solid script and good story. Try and find this film and settle in for a great experience.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Gina Lollabrigida had the slight misfortune to appear on the scene in
Italian cinema at the same time that Sophia Loren did. Between them
(aided by Anita Ekbert) they dominated the sexual scene in Italian
films, but Loren pulled ahead slightly in dramatic fare - and copped an
Oscar in 1960 for "Two Women" , something that Lollabrigida never got.
Loren was also lucky enough to get a handsome leading man (Marcello
Mastroianni) to complement her in several of her sex farces.
Lollabrigida never had a handsome partner. It is a trifle unfair
because both women were not only beautiful but quite talented as
actresses. And both were first rate in comedy.
"Buono Sera, Mrs. Campbell" may be the best comedy Lollabrigida made - it is certainly the most accessible to English speaking audiences because it is in English. It's plot is reminiscent of the later American comedy "Father's Day" (which is based on a French film) wherein two men (Billy Crystal and Robin Williams) search for a young teenager who they both think is their biological son (or so has the mother of the boy told them - she claims she is not sure which of them or her husband is the actual father). It is also reminiscent (in a reversal of plot) of Loren and Mastroianni's comedy "Marriage Italian Style". There Loren uses money from Mastroianni's business to support three sons, unknown to each other, one of whom is Mastroianni's biological son.
In "Mrs. Campbell", Lollabrigida is the mother of a beautiful young woman who is the daughter of one of three American veterans who helped liberate her town in World War II. The three (Telly Savalas, Phil Silvers, and Peter Lawford) romanced her, and never knew of the other two. When she became pregnant she informed each and they promised to send her money to support the girl. As a result Lollabrigida has had a very comfortable lifestyle, and the girl is well educated. She chooses the name of "Campbell" for her "dead" husband (if anyone inquires) from the name of her favorite American soup company. However, the daughter is growing up, and she is determined to have a sexual life free of her mother's concerns. Their discord is mingled by Lollabrigida's discovery that the American veterans are returning to her village after a quarter century for a huge reunion, and she finds all three of her ex-boyfriends are coming determined to see their daughter.
The complications are not only on Lollabrigida's side. Each of her three "heros" has married and the resulting marriages are not perfect. Silvers is married to Shelley Winters, and they have children of their own (including an obnoxious son). Lawford is married to Janet Margolin, and don't have their kids with them - in fact they took the trip to supposedly get away from their kids. Telly Savalas is married to Lee Grant, and they have the most strained marriage - Grant has wanted kids but Savalas never had any with her.
The story pursues the attempts of the three ex-G.I.s in trying to resume an active relationship with Lollabrigida, but avoiding their wives (and in Silver's case his kids), while Lollabrigida has to keep the three from discovering each other, and from confronting her daughter - who always has thought her father died in the war. The film actually works quite well, with all the principles (even Lawford, for a change) being funny. I will not be revealing too much that eventually the men do meet and realize how two of them (which two we can't tell) were conned. Savallas makes the comment that I varied a little in the "Summary" Line.
How the film ends I leave to the reader to discover when they watch it. It ends quite fairly, with all the fathers discovering their fatherly instincts (despite their mutual shock). It also ends by giving one other character a sweet moment of recognition that is totally unexpected - but thoroughly appreciated by the viewer. As a sweet and funny comic farce it is one of the best.
Absurd but fun little comedy enlivened by Gina's feisty performance in
The supporting cast is sprinkled with quality performers all giving good performances, even the usually obnoxious Silvers comes across well, but this is Gina's show and she carries the film easily. Most of the supporting players are simple types that the actors manage to flesh out the best they can. Telly Savalas and Lee Grant take theirs one step further and create a believably troubled couple who have spent so many years battling they fail to realize that what they both want is the same thing. On the surface they seem mismatched but because of subtle playing they expand the character beyond what was on the page.
Back to Gina, under the direction of the competent Melvin Frank, whom had guided her through Strange Bedfellows previously, she has a fine comic sensibility never betraying any doubt that the preposterous situation she finds herself in doesn't make perfect sense. And boy is she a stunner!
Full to the brim with beautiful scenery shot in glorious Technicolor, marred only by obvious but probably necessary process shots while Gina is driving, you'll want to jump a plane to Italy at the film's conclusion.
A potential seamy subject that could have devolved into crassness is handled with the proper light touch making this a genial farce and terrific showcase for Miss Lollobrigida.
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