The marital problems of an American couple come to a head while visiting southern Italy with their impressionable young son.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Lea Kingsburg
...
Nicholas Kingsburg
Renato Cestiè ...
Bunny
Alberto Terracina ...
Aldo Tavani
Antonino Faà di Bruno ...
Receptionist
...
Fisherman
Alberto Farnese ...
Arturo
Carlo Gaddi ...
Surgeon
Filippo Fantini ...
Hotel Boy
Vanna Brosio ...
Nurse
Paola Rosi
...
Infermiere
Lorenzo Piani
Vittorio Fanfoni
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The marital problems of an American couple come to a head while visiting southern Italy with their impressionable young son.

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Drama

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17 April 1975 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

White Horses of Summer  »

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(Eastmancolor)
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User Reviews

 
An American couple and their son vacation in Italy.
10 September 1998 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

"Bianchi cavalli d'Agosto" or "White Horses of Summer" is one of Jean Seberg 's last films and, like most of her films from the '70s, is notable only because her presence is so unexpected.

Seberg and Frederick Stafford play an American couple on vacation in southern Italy at the resort of Pugnochiuso with their 12 year-old son played by Renato Cestie. Their marriage is in a crisis with constant bickering that usually ends with Stafford getting drunk. Eventually he leaves the resort to visit the ruins of Pompeii. While he is gone, Seberg has an affair with a frustrated writer played by Roberto Terracina. Cestie is disturbed by his parent's fighting and daydreams of being rescued from his unhappy life by Arab sheiks on white horses. When Seberg receives an apologetic love-letter from Stafford she decides to rejoin him. Cestie, realizing that this will only end in more fighting, runs from her and accidentally falls from a seaside cliff. He is rushed to a hospital where Seberg and Stafford re-unite, grateful that their son will recover from his injuries.

This film may have originally had some potential to be an affecting drama but it is completely sabotaged by a very weak script, at least as heard in the english-language version. The film's saving grace is some beautiful photography of the villages and coastal areas of southern Italy. There are several visually striking moments that linger in the mind after the film is over. There is also a typically Italian musical score, lush and somewhat overwrought, that nevertheless heightens what drama there is. It is particularly effective at the film's conclusion just before the final credits begin. The opening sequence is also very well done. Seberg and Stafford are off-camera arguing about where they will spend their vacation, while Cestie listens in. As the credits begin there is a cut to a 747 lifting off a runway during the twilight of early evening. When the film's title appears on screen there is then a cut to the sun-drenched seaside cliffs of the Italian coast. The set-up for the entire film is beautifully established in the course of a few minutes.

The performances are acceptable except for Seberg. It is easy and very sad to see why her acting career ended only a year later. She seems barely able to move or deliver her lines, let alone create a convincing character. It is nearly impossible to believe that this is the same actress who only ten years earlier gave such a powerful performance in the film "Lilith". Both Seberg and Stafford died in 1979.


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