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The Pigeon That Took Rome (1962)

Approved | | Comedy, War | 20 June 1962 (USA)
In 1944, two American spies, posing as priests, infiltrate German occupied Rome to relay information to HQ but can only communicate via pigeons due to the imposed radio silence.

Director:

Melville Shavelson

Writers:

Donald Downes (novel), Melville Shavelson
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Charlton Heston ... Captain Paul MacDougall / Benny the Snatch / Narrator
Elsa Martinelli ... Antonella Massimo
Harry Guardino ... Sgt. Joseph Angelico
Salvatore Baccaloni Salvatore Baccaloni ... Ciccio Massimo (as Baccaloni)
Gabriella Pallotta ... Rosalba Massimo
Brian Donlevy ... Col. Sherman Harrington
Marietto Marietto ... Livio Massimo
Rudolph Anders Rudolph Anders ... Oberst Krafft
Arthur Shields ... Monsignor O'Toole
Debbie Price Debbie Price ... Luigina Massimo
Vadim Wolkonsky Vadim Wolkonsky ... Conte Danesi (as Vadim Wolkansky)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nick Borgani Nick Borgani ... Relative at Easter Dinner
Gary Collins ... Maj. Wolff
Bob Gandett Bob Gandett ... The General
James Garde James Garde ... Messenger
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Storyline

Charlton Heston stars as an American soldier behind Italian lines in World War II. In order to communicate German movements to the Allies, he uses carrier pigeons fitted with messages. As he grows more and more in love with the daughter of the family he stays with, the father accidentally feeds the pigeons to his family for Easter Dinner. Written by Jeremy Kirk <kirkman316@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He came to make war - and she threw in the towel! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Italian

Release Date:

20 June 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Americans Go Home See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At about the 8:00 minute mark, when Charlton Heston is donning a disguise as a priest he observes that he "looks like something out of the Ten Commandments." Six years earlier, Heston starred in the epic, The Ten Commandments (1956). See more »

Goofs

Throughout the film, SS members use the Wehrmacht (German Army) equivalent ranks when addressing one another.In reality, members of the SS only used their SS ranks when addressing each other. See more »

Quotes

Antonella Massimo: [laughingly] You ate your own Air Force, captain!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are superimposed over images of American soldiers moving out of Italy. This is followed by a shot of a pigeon who winks at the camera. See more »

Connections

Spoofs The Ten Commandments (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Lame Pigeon
11 February 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

There are certain actors who should not do comedy and Charlton Heston was one of them. His no nonsense granite personality of integrity was out of place in a film like The Pigeon That Took Rome. The part looks like it was written for Rock Hudson.

Heston does his best however as an infantry officer who together with an Italian speaking sergeant Harry Guardino is sent days before the Allied liberation of Rome into the Eternal City. The cautious Allies want to find out if Hitler really means to evacuate and leave it an open city or will he fight for it.

A prime mover in the underground is Monsignor Arthur Shields at the Vatican playing a character based on the one that was the central figure in the later film The Scarlet and the Black that starred Gregory Peck. He gets Heston and Guardino, disguised as priests, into the home of Salvatore Baccaloni with daughters Elsa Martinelli and Gabriella Pallotta and their little brother Marietto.

That family has its own problems, Pallotta is pregnant via another American who was a flier later killed by the Nazis. She's got to get married and quick and sizes up Guardino as a likely prospect.

With Nazi communication detection techniques Heston is forced to use those old reliable carrier pigeons. But when Baccaloni plans a feast for the daughter he uses those same pigeons that could signal the Allied advance into Rome as disguised quail. What to do?

The only time Heston ever successfully essayed comedy was in the Private War Of Major Benson in which his stern countenance was played against by the kids of the military school and his lady interest Julia Adams. It doesn't work in The Pigeon That Took Rome and a lot of potentially funny stuff just falls flat.

Chuck's next visit to Rome was The Agony And The Ecstacy. He was a much better Michaelangelo than a spy.


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