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 (Dame Joan Plowright), works as the English secretary for Paolo Innocente (Massimo Ghini), who, in part because of his own wife's adamant refusal, largely neglects his illegitimate adolescent son, Luca (Baird Wallace), 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 ...Written by
The breaking news radio announcement reporting the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor also included information about President Roosevelt's speech the next day and the subsequent US declaration of war against Germany, Japan, and Italy. In effect it was a summary of two days' events and wouldn't be a breaking news announcement. See more »
The love affair between the artistically-inclined English community and Florence was soon to be overshadowed by the clouds of war.
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.
Excuse me, are you the Consul?
Connie Raynor of the Morning Post. I'm fascinated to know what His Majesty's Consul in Florence makes of it all?
I can't believe your readers would be interested...
[...] See more »
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 »
This film is one of the most touching and lovely films that I have seen in many years. Its gaggle of actresses are second to none and turn out excellant performance, Joan Plowright in particular brings an irresistable sweetness to the role. People who have commented on the film so far seem to have neglected to mention the soundtrack which is beautiful and inspiring with a wonderful piano piece. Criticism that the film is too old fashioned or that the characters are unappealing and pompous seems to miss the point, the very charm of Hester (Maggie Smith in particular)is how she overcomes her snobbery at the end and realises how much Elsa (Cher, who in any other film would doubtless be misplaced but in this case fits the role like a glove) has done for the Scorpioni. In short the film is a relic of a gentler age and is simultaniously uplifting, upsetting and relaxing. I implore everyone to hunt down the soundtrack on CD to the ends of the earth if necissary.
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