Michel Legrand composed the first score for this film, but it was rejected in favor of a score by John Barry, aided by Don Walker. When it was first aired on U.S. television, the CBS network had Barry and Walker's score replaced with a completely new score by Stu Phillips. Only the music by Barry and Walker is heard on the film today. See more »
"Have you ever been in love?" ... "That's a silly question."
Buttoned-up divorce lawyer in Italy, still living part-time with Mom, spies a smoky beauty on the streets just outside of Gucci, cuing composer John Barry to drum up an intensely romantic theme in the background. These two are obviously destined to meet--but she may have an impure past which prevents well-intentioned men from marrying her. Movies such as "The Appointment" are easy targets for critics looking for something to ridicule. By natural law, most conversations between budding lovers are silly, and here (when Omar Sharif explains the mating habits of turtles to an amused Anouk Aimée) you can almost hear the cackling from the balcony. The stars make for a terrifically photogenic couple, and the Italian backgrounds are ravishing, but the central theme of romantic obsession, possessiveness, and destructive jealousy is so intensely drawn that it may elicit giggles from viewers instead of emotion. Omar Sharif gives his standard wet-eyed performance, yet this is an unusually complex man--not a replay of Zhivago--and Sharif captures the nervously boyish tics and overeager longings of the character quite ably. Similarly, the material is an unusual change-of-pace for the director, Sidney Lumet (in uncharacteristically subdued spirits); Lumet pulls off a few audacious moments here, however some of his attributes (such as an elaborate helicopter shot of the lovers in a grassy field) call attention to themselves for no other reason than to be artsy. The slow, steady pacing may turn distracted viewers off, yet this is an oddly beguiling cinematic experience: fantastic, unsentimental actually, and not so removed from the truth. Lumet's heart wants to flutter in the winds, yet he keeps his feet on the ground, resulting in a thoughtful downer. *** from ****
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