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It's the late nineteenth century. Annie Miller, more regularly referred to as Daisy, of Schenectady, New York, is on a grand tour of Europe with her mother, Mrs. Ezra Miller, her precocious adolescent brother, Randolph Miller, and their manservant, Eugenio. It is at their stop in Vevey, Switzerland that Daisy meets Frederick Winterbourne, an American expat studying in Geneva. Frederick has mixed emotions about Daisy. On the one hand, he is captivated by her beauty. On the other, he believes her to be uneducated and improper in her modern American attitude and behavior, she basically doing whatever she wants regardless of the possible perception of impropriety by those in Frederick's social circle. That latter view is shared by Frederick's aunt, Mrs. Costello, with who he is traveling. Conversely, Daisy finds Frederick to be stiff. Regardless, Daisy does allow Frederick to spend time with her as they move from Vevey to Rome, Italy in their individual parallel travels. Through this time...Written by
Excellent adaptation of the Henry James story about a willful girl in Europe and the price she pays.
Peter Bogdanovich does an excellent job in recreating the long-ago world when Americans of means made "the grand tour" and saw everything there was to see in Europe. The leisurely world of the moneyed classes before World War I is beautifully realized here with breathtaking scenery, sets, and costumes. Just perfect.
This film has been unjustly maligned for more than 30 years and needs to be re-assessed. The cast is just about perfect.
Cybill Shepherd is the perfect Daisy. A naive girl from Schenectady who talks nonstop and flirts with all the men. The old women among the expatriate set think she's wicked, not very innocent, etc. But the callow American-born Winterbourne (Barry Brown) who has been educated in Geneva falls for her simple ways and beauty. Is she a mantrap? Or is she just what she seems to be.... a slightly silly girl who is a little too headstrong? Shepherd chatters and flirts to perfection, leaving Brown a flustered and confused suitor. Cloris Leachman is the ditzy mother. Mildred Natwick is the world-weary aunt. Eileen Brennan is the catty widow. Duilio del Prete is the "little Roman." Several scenes are standouts: Shepherd singing "Maggie" is a highlight. She sings nicely and is beautifully framed in a large window. The "spa" scene with Natwick and Brown is hilarious as the various "bathers" loll about in the hot-spring pool with various items floating about on inflated pillows. The aunt and nephew are taking tea while two old men play chess.... A vase with flowers drifts by... Oh so languid and leisurely an age. Og course being a Henry James story, poor Daisy does get her comeuppance.
The film is a total treat, filled with good acting and humor and those gorgeous views of Vevey, Switzerland.
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