18 user 5 critic

A Matter of Time (1976)

A simple young woman helps eccentric old countess deal with her old age and she introduces the young woman to a world of upper class society.


Vincente Minnelli


Maurice Druon (novel), John Gay (screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Liza Minnelli ... Nina
Ingrid Bergman ... Contessa Sanziani
Charles Boyer ... Count Sanziani
Spiros Andros Spiros Andros ... Mario
Tina Aumont ... Valentina
Gabriele Ferzetti ... Antonio Vicari
Geoffrey Copleston Geoffrey Copleston ... Hotel Manager
Antonio Jacono Antonio Jacono ... Hotel Porter (as Dominot)
Fernando Rey ... Charles Van Maar
Orso Maria Guerrini ... Gabriele d'Orazio
Jean Mas Jean Mas ... Kaiser Wilhelm
Isabella Rossellini ... Sister Pia
Amedeo Nazzari ... Tewfik
Virgilio Volpe Virgilio Volpe ... Restaurant Owner
Philippe Hersent Philippe Hersent ... Cook


Nina has just started working as a chambermaid in Rome's Imperial Hotel, a once grand but now slightly run down establishment. She works alongside her cousin Valentina, who encouraged her to do this work to expose her to a better life. One of the people whose room Nina attends is seventy-two year old Contessa Lucretia Sanziani, a longtime resident who has been estranged from her husband, Count Carlos Sanziani, for forty years. However, her stay at the hotel is threatened when her money stars to run out and the Count informs the hotel that he wants nothing to do with her, even if something serious happens to her. The Countess was once considered the "love goddess" of Europe, she who still lives in the fantasy of that life and her memories. In Nina, the Contessa sees a younger version of herself, and encourages her to be herself and that people will notice. The Contessa also takes her under her wing in providing a more polished version of herself to the world. During this process, the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some women are born to have a glorious affair with life. See more »


Drama | Fantasy | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Isabella Rossellini plays Sister Pia and happens to have a half-sister named Pia - Pia Lindström the daughter of her mother Ingrid Bergman and Dr. Petter Aron Lindström. See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy! (1998) See more »


The Me I Haven't Met Yet
Music and Lyrics by Fred Ebb and John Kander
Performed by Liza Minnelli (uncredited)
See more »

User Reviews

Take with a grain of salt
8 January 2001 | by gentooSee all my reviews

If you're not a Liza Minnelli fan, don't even bother because despite the other talent involved, this is her show (and not a very good one -- father Vincente Minnelli, the director, very wisely disowned the edited picture). This isn't one to watch for Minnelli's acting (like "The Sterile Cuckoo" or "Cabaret") or even her charm ("Arthur," "Stepping Out"), but her voice is incredible. While the songs (except for Gershwin's "Do It Again") are middling, Minnelli's delivery makes you forget how silly the story and her character are. Mother Judy had better songs to sing, but Liza's instrument was phenomenal at its peak.

On the plus side is Ingrid Bergman as the aging contessa. She's so at ease and has so much fun as the grande dame that it's impossible not to love her -- again. Reunited briefly with Charles Boyer more than 30 years after their first pairing (in "Gaslight"), she has on-screen history working for her in her playful scene with him. (Watch the melodramatic "Arch of Triumph" if you really want to see Bergman and Boyer connect.)

Another reason to watch is for the film debut of Bergman's daughter, Isabella Rossellini. She's barely in "A Matter of Time" -- and you can barely tell it's her under her nun's habit -- but seeing her luminous face next to her mother's has the feeling of the passing of a torch, or at the very least a blessing. To give you an idea of the kind of cornball humor at work here, Rossellini's character is called Sister Pia; the actress's real-life sister, of course, is Bergman's daughter Pia Lindstrom.

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Release Date:

31 October 1976 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Carmela See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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