Three American women, rooming together while working abroad in Rome, Italy, hope for romance and marriage. Frances, oldest of the three, has been fifteen years a secretary to novelist John Frederick Shadwell, a man whom she loves but whose reclusive nature prompts most people to believe him long since dead. Anita, one week away from returning to America (under the claim of getting married), finally bucks company rules (and gets caught) by finally accepting an invitation from an Italian co-worker to visit his family's farm for his sister's wedding. Newly arrived Maria soon sets her generally innocent eyes on Dino di Cessi, an actual prince with a reputation for womanizing, and makes a play for him by making herself his perfect match.Written by
Not much to add to the other comments here, except to say that it may be understandable that this one got a Best Picture nomination in the 1954 Oscar derby if you were able to see a pristine print, with a stereo soundtrack, in a first-class theater as I had the opportunity of doing when it was first released. The opening sequence of numerous fountains in full flood as Frank Sinatra crooned the Oscar-winning title song was just dazzling to those of us Americans who hadn't yet made a Grand Tour of Europe. What followed contained no surprises, certainly, though some eyebrows were raised by the Jean Peters/Rossano Brazzi "illicit" romance. I never understood how Maggie McNamara ever passed muster with any studio's casting director, nor how the makers of this pastiche could have thought that the suavely handsome Louis Jourdan, playing an Italian of noble descent, would finally settle for a manipulative young American whose machinations had, prior to his capitulation, been nakedly revealed. The lovely Ms. McGuire setting her cap for the aging, fastidious old fop, so well incarnated by Mr. Webb, was another of the difficulties even those first audiences had in suspending their disbelief.
But, oh!, those glorious travelogue shots of Rome and Venice. Widescreens, back then, really were worth briefly deserting one's living room "boob tube" and letting one's mind drift into Nirvana as beautiful DeLuxe Color made one believe the world was an impossibly beautiful place. A new DVD version which approximates the original CinemaScope ratio is now available, a distinct improvement over the formatted VHS tape previously available.
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