6.8/10
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7 user 8 critic

Good morning Babilonia (1987)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance, War | 13 May 1987 (France)
After the bankruptcy of their father's stonemasonry firm, Nicola and Andrea emigrate to America to restore their fortunes. After many adventures and near-disasters, they end up in Hollywood... See full summary »

Writers:

Paolo Taviani (story), Vittorio Taviani (story) | 2 more credits »
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vincent Spano ... Nicola Bonnano
Joaquim de Almeida ... Andrea Bonnano
Greta Scacchi ... Edna Bonnano
Désirée Nosbusch ... Mabel Bonnano (as Desiree Becker)
Omero Antonutti ... Bonanno aka Babbo
Bérangère Bonvoisin Bérangère Bonvoisin ... Mrs. Griffith
David Brandon ... Grass, Griffith's Production Manager
Brian Freilino Brian Freilino ... Thompson, Griffith's Assistant
Margarita Lozano ... The Venetian
Massimo Venturiello Massimo Venturiello ... Duccio Bonnano
Andrea Prodan Andrea Prodan ... Irish Cameraman
Charles Dance ... D.W. Griffith
Dorotea Ausenda Dorotea Ausenda
Ugo Bencini Ugo Bencini
Daniel Bosch Daniel Bosch
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Storyline

After the bankruptcy of their father's stonemasonry firm, Nicola and Andrea emigrate to America to restore their fortunes. After many adventures and near-disasters, they end up in Hollywood designing sets for D.W. Griffith and marry beautiful actresses, but tragedy strikes with the arrival of World War I, which finds the brothers fighting on opposite sides... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Once upon a time there were Andrea, Nicola and D.W. Griffith...

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France | USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

13 May 1987 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Good Morning, Babylon See more »

Filming Locations:

Livorno, Tuscany, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$183,700
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmtre,Rai 1,Films A2 See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987. See more »

Goofs

The director D.W. Griffith is sat into his car and looking outside the right window, attracted by the Italian Pavillion of the Universal Expo in San Francisco. He asks the driver to stop, gets down, walks around the car and, on the left side, looks again towards the Pavillion (that should have been on the right side) See more »

Quotes

D.W. Griffith: Never mind. Artists communicate through their work.
See more »


Soundtracks

La Gazza Ladra - Sinfonia
Composed by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Giovanni Gherardini [based on "La pie voleuse" by Théodore Baudouin d'Aubigny and Louis-Charles Caigniez ]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Quirky Homage to D.W. Griffith
18 April 2003 | by Ralph Michael SteinSee all my reviews

Entertaining and interesting without much depth, "Good Morning, Babylon" never decides - through directorial eyes - whether to parody or chronicle the early silent cinema dominated by D.W. Griffith. However, directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani deserve much credit for turning a fantasy about early Hollywood into an attractive film.

Two brothers, Nicola and Andrea (check the IMDb page for this film for the actors' names) leave their aging father after he closes their family historical renovation business in Italy. Their outstandingly fine, craftsman attention to detail won't keep the wolf of bankruptcy at bay. The father and brothers, along with other relatives and assorted laborers, have done yeoman work restoring the glorious facades of an Italy alive in memory and lost in reality. But their time won't come again until Perillo Tours rediscovers Italy.

So Nicola and Andrea come to the Promised Land, arriving in Tinseltown after enduring the hardship of common work, including pig herding. Given their pedigree as artisans it's little surprise that they are attracted to the gaudy and slightly wacky Hollywood in its infancy.

Enduring but escaping crude bigotry ("wops" is the strongest epithet in the film), the brothers get to meet and be hired by D.W. Griffith, well-played by Charles Dance. He has Griffiths' Southern accent and mannerisms cold - must have read a biography of the autocrat of the Silents.

The brothers prosper enough to land two beauties, one played by the young Greta Scacchi, as brides. The women exchange their jobs as extras for leading roles in their beloveds' lives.

Griffith is shown agonizing about turning his long germinating idea of an anti-war film into reality. That was (and is) the great "Intolerance" and brief scenes from this masterpiece of the early days of cinema are provided. If you haven't seen "Intolerance," shame on you!

An unfortunate but not uncommon for the time domestic problem clouds the relationship of the brothers who then separate in anger, winding up later in The Great War on opposite sides. Somehow they fortuitously meet on the battlefield and resolve their differences in a denouement that challenges the war-hating viewer not to laugh.

Intentionally or not, the war scenes are a caricature of early cinema's depiction of combat. Audiences that are used to the dynamic proto-realism of, say, "Saving Private Ryan" (where real amputees were used as extras so all got the point that having a leg blown off hurts), may find these scenes very plasticized. But we didn't live in the age of D.W. Griffith.

Well worth renting. The score is interesting, halfway between Puccini and an organ grinder's playlist.

6/10.


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