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Tea with Mussolini (1999)

Un tè con Mussolini (original title)
PG | | Comedy, Drama, War | 14 May 1999 (USA)
An orphaned Italian boy is raised among a circle of British and American women living in Mussolini's Italy before and during the Second World War.

Director:

Franco Zeffirelli

Writers:

John Mortimer (screenplay), Franco Zeffirelli (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cher ... Elsa
Judi Dench ... Arabella
Joan Plowright ... Mary
Maggie Smith ... Lady Hester
Lily Tomlin ... Georgie
Baird Wallace Baird Wallace ... Luca
Charlie Lucas Charlie Lucas ... Luca (child)
Massimo Ghini ... Paolo
Paolo Seganti ... Vittorio
Claudio Spadaro ... Mussolini
Mino Bellei Mino Bellei ... Cesare
Paul Chequer ... Wilfred
Tessa Pritchard Tessa Pritchard ... Connie
Michael Williams ... British Consul
Paula Jacobs Paula Jacobs ... Molly
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Storyline

In 1935 a group of elderly British women, whom the Italians have named the Scorpioni, have chosen Italy, specifically Florence, as a place to live to blend their proper British sensibilities with their love of Italian art and culture. One of those Scorpioni, Mary Walsh, works as the English secretary for Paolo Innocente, who, in part because of his own wife's adamant refusal, largely neglects his illegitimate adolescent son, Luca, despite Paolo's want for Luca to grow up to be a proper young man, much like the English. Luca has lived in an orphanage since his dressmaker mother's death, death a concept that Luca does not yet understand. As such, he often runs away looking for his mother. On a mutual agreement between Paolo and Mary, Mary becomes Luca's guardian, she who will receive help in raising Luca by her fellow Scorpioni and financial help from Paolo as needed. Associated with the Scorpioni is a brash younger nouveau riche Jewish-American woman named Elsa Morgenthal, who, because... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

lesbian | italy | english | american | art | See All (191) »

Taglines:

A story of civilized disobedience

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, language, brief nudity and some mild violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

Italy | UK

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

14 May 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tea with Mussolini See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,633,183, 16 May 1999

Gross USA:

$14,348,123
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Cher; and two Oscar nominees: Joan Plowright and Lily Tomlin. See more »

Goofs

Elsa is referred to as "a Jew". Until long after World War II, a female Jew in Europe was referred to as "a Jewess". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: Florence 1935.
Title Card: The love affair between the artistically-inclined English community and Florence was soon to be overshadowed by the clouds of war.
Title Card: But at the moment the sun is still shining on the squares and statues, and the dictator Mussolini is the gentleman who makes the trains run on time.
Connie Raynor: Excuse me, are you the Consul?
British Consul: Yes.
Connie Raynor: Connie Raynor of the Morning Post. I'm fascinated to know what His Majesty's Consul in Florence makes of it all?
British Consul: I can't believe your readers would be ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The MGM DVD, ISBN 0-7928-4300-2, is missing least one shot: The original tea with Mussolini scene ends with Mussolini forcing himself upon the reporter, forcing her onto his desk (i.e., he rapes her.) This DVD omits that ending and leaves the reporter's change in behavior unexplained. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Roseanne Show: Episode #1.8 (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Sulla carrozzella
Written by Gino Filippini (as Filippini) and Riccardo Morbelli (as Morbelli)
Performed by Odoardo Spadaro
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Un tè con mussolini é bello!
15 May 1999 | by WillieC3See all my reviews

This film could have been titled 'four crazy grannies' for the marvelous portrayal of little old ladies, each more eccentric than the next. Like the comedy team of Matthau and Lemon, Dench, Smith and Plowright have a chemistry that is explosive.

Maggie Smith played a role that she has spent a lifetime perfecting. She captivates us as a snobbish dowager, tantalizes us with her improbable tea party and brings us to tears when she demonstrates her capacity to grow.

Although she may not have wowed us with her Shakespeare, Joan Plowright's compassion for her sudden charge made me wish (that at age 32) she would adopt me. Her love of the classics, remind us that art, literature and friends can help us transcend life's constant miseries.

Cher demonstrated that she could act in any time period. While Dame Judi Dench (not allowing herself to be typecast as a Queen) portrays a particularly pitiful creature as an aging artist with more passion than talent.

This film sends a clear message to Hollywood: experience and talent win out over T&A.

Applause at the end of this movie is to be expected.

Brava!


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