Days before his wedding, a Philadelphia lawyer travels to Naples in Southern Italy to settle the estate of his late brother, only to find that he has an Italian nephew who is being cared for by his maternal aunt, a cabaret singer.
Mike Hamilton, a Philadelphia lawyer, comes to Naples to settle the estate of his long estranged "black sheep" brother. Once there, he discovers that the deceased has left an eight-year old little boy named Nando, who is being raised by Michael's sister-in-law Lucia Curcio. Mike immediately disapproves of Nando's Italian-style (in other words "lax") education. To make matters worse, Lucia happens to be ... a sexy nightclub dancer. This is too much for a puritan like Mike and the only solution in his eyes is to have the boy brought up in the States...Written by
Mike and Lucia order up stiff drinks for each other at the bar. Mike orders a bourbon drink for Lucia and she orders a Campari based drink for Mike. However when each of them grabs the bottle of liquor to top off the others drink the bottles are switched. Mike's gets topped off with Burbon and Lucia's with Campari. See more »
Your lawyer is a pig. It's not a nice job pushing a poor, innocent girl into the arms of an American to save someone she loves. And now he will use this against me. Taking away from me all that is left of my family.
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You have to forgive this movie several faults in order to enjoy it. Clark Gable, at 59, is far too old for Sophia Loren, 26. The musical numbers are weak with the exception of 'Americano', and let's face it, Loren is no Ginger Rogers. The custody battle for the child – Loren's son and Gable's nephew – is absurd to begin with, and then compounded by silly back and forth melodrama in the second half of the film. The film on the surface seems to be a loving look at Italy and Italians, but Gable's character is condescending with an annoying American arrogance, and the film as a whole is a bit patronizing.
And yet, despite all that, I found it somewhat enjoyable, and certainly better than expected. Shot on location in Naples and Capri, the scenery is gorgeous and many of the shots in the streets or piazzas look authentic. Gable gets off a lot of wry one-liners in a script where the dialogue is better than events. Loren may not have the greatest dance moves, but she does show both a comedic side and a touching side in her playful relationship with her son, in addition to, well, being a knockout and all. I love the scene where Loren is sprawled out face down on the bed after a long night dancing, and her son pokes her in the behind with a meat fork in front of Gable. The supporting cast is all-Italian, and the little boy (Marietto) and the lawyer (Vittorio De Sica) turn in good performances. There are moments that seem cliché, but there are also moments that seem spontaneous, and quite true to southern Italy. Far from perfect, but enjoyable.
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