The son of a dead Italian nobleman and a wealthy American woman forgets the disappointment of finding he has no talent for being a painter by succumbing to the sexual advances of an amoral model who believes in indiscriminate love affairs.
Bette Davis was in the midst of a three-week vacation at the health spa La Costa in Carlsbad, California when she received the script. On twenty-four-hour notice she flew to Rome for filming. It wasn't until the first day of shooting she learned the dialogue was to be recorded in Italian. See more »
One of the previous respondents compares Commencini's work on this film to Billy Wilder, and I can't agree more. In fact, this yarn reworks Sunset Boulevard into a full-bodied Italian comedy about how the tyrannical rich use their money to string along the poor and humble.
Remember, there was a card game in Wilder's film too! Here, Bette Davis, as poised, professional, and grandly self-assured as ever, is the Norma Desmond character. She's shrewd, not crazy, but she's got everyone twisting their lives out of shape to humor her in much the same way. Joseph Cotten is the Max von Mayerling character - the artist who threw away a brilliant career to serve this imperious creature. The twist is that Commencini replaces William Holden's wry screenwriter, Joe Gillis, with Alberto Sordi and Silvana Mangano as the poor couple who've unwittingly staked their lives on whatever they can get from the old lady. Ultimately, of course, it's not just them, but their entire neighborhood who Davis is leading on her merry chase -strictly for her own amusement. The twist at the end is just as perfect, in its own, thoroughly Italian way, as the finale of Wilder's film.
Absolutely delightful - especially the wonderful body (and facial) language of all four principals at the cardtable. They could have kept it up twice as long and it would have been just as amusing. Four expert screen actors, directed to perfection.
Can the bizzers-in-charge PLEASE find a decent print of this and DVD it right away?
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