5.7/10
3,240
23 user 37 critic

What? (1972)

Che? (original title)
R | | Comedy | 3 October 1973 (USA)
A young American woman (Sydne Rome) traveling through Italy finds herself in a strange Mediterranean villa where nothing seems right. Her visit becomes an absurd, decadent, oversexed ... See full summary »

Director:

Roman Polanski
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcello Mastroianni ... Alex
Sydne Rome ... Nancy
Hugh Griffith ... Joseph Noblart
Romolo Valli ... Giovanni
Guido Alberti Guido Alberti ... Priest
Henning Schlüter Henning Schlüter ... Catone (as Henning Schlueter)
Gianfranco Piacentini Gianfranco Piacentini ... Tony
Christiane Barry Christiane Barry ... Dresser
Dieter Hallervorden ... German #2
Elisabeth Witte Elisabeth Witte ... Nurse
Mogens von Gadow Mogens von Gadow ... German #1 (as Mogen von Gadow)
Carlo Delle Piane ... Young Oaf #1 in Car
Luigi Bonos Luigi Bonos ... Painter
Livio Galassi Livio Galassi
Carla Mancini Carla Mancini
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Storyline

A young American woman (Sydne Rome) traveling through Italy finds herself in a strange Mediterranean villa where nothing seems right. Her visit becomes an absurd, decadent, oversexed version of "Alice in Wonderland", with Marcello Mastroianni as the maddest of mad hatters and Roman Polanski a kinky March hare. Written by Dan Navarro <daneldorado@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The kinkiest caper of the year!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France | West Germany

Language:

English | Italian | French

Release Date:

3 October 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Diary of Forbidden Dreams See more »

Filming Locations:

Italy See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$64
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (VHS)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

When producer Robert Evans was trying to coax Roman Polanski to direct Chinatown (1974), he found Polanski thoroughly absorbed with this film, to the extent that he had bought a 50% share in it. Evans eventually lured Polanski by saying that whatever "What" made in its opening week, he would pay him as his salary for directing "Chinatown". Polanski readily agreed to this, expecting "What" to do well as he considered it the best thing he had done up to that point. Unluckily for Polanski, "What" only grossed $64 on its first week. See more »

Goofs

Nancy's hands are well manicured throughout the movie, but quite ordinary during close-ups, when she's supposedly playing the piano. See more »

Connections

Edited into Marcello, una vita dolce (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

String Quartet Death and the Maiden
By Franz Schubert
Arranged by Claudio Gizzi
See more »

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User Reviews

Okay...So it WAS like Alice in Wonderland
17 May 2004 | by masercotSee all my reviews

This was a movie that I'd checked out years ago and was intrigued enough to buy it for another viewing. It is beautifully dated as evidenced by the film quality and the attitudes towards sex.

The main character is a young woman hitchhiking across Europe. After a violent encounter with what has to be the most inept rapists that Europe has ever produced, she escapes via cable-car. Suddenly, she is in a house that is filled with loonies.

There is a large table, set for dozens and, most of the time, void of diners...save Alice. There is the pimp who, despite his cruelty and rudeness, seduces the young American girl. There is Mosquito, a small man with a deformed face and a speargun...

This movie is strange. It treats as normal the oddest situations; however, it gets strangest when the situations are at their most normal: A piano duet, a middle-aged couple unpacking...

I would give it three and a half out of five. Probably one of Polanski's best...


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