Springtime In Italy: Rome Adventure

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At last it’s time to start my armchair vacation to Italy!  The first film in this year’s movie holiday is Rome Adventure, directed by Delmer Daves and starring Troy Donahue, Angie Dickinson, Rossano Brazzi, and Suzanne Pleshette.  It’s one of the most visually stunning of all the Italy-based movies I’ve seen, and contrary to what the title implies it’s not set only in Rome.  We get a look at many beautifully filmed locations.  The scenery really should’ve received top billing — for me it’s the real star of the movie.

Rome Adventure tells the story of Prudence Bell (Pleshette), a young woman from New England who quits her job as a librarian at a girl’s school after being taken to task for sharing a racy novel called Lovers Must Learn with one of her students.  She doesn’t like the teachers’ prudish attitudes toward sex, and doesn’t want to turn into a loveless old spinster like her colleagues, so she declares she’s off to someplace where they really know about love — Italy.

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While on board the ship taking her to Europe, Prudence is attended to by two men — nerdy but kind Etruscologist Albert Stillwell (Hampton Fancher), the son of a family friend, and dreamy Italian ladies’ man Roberto Orlandi (Brazzi).

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Once in Italy, Roberto gives the two Americans a tour of the sights, then finds them lodgings at a boarding house owned by a Contessa.  Also staying there is Roberto’s friend, American architecture student Don Porter, played by Troy Donahue.

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When we first see Don he’s in a huff, rushing off to the train station to try and stop his girlfriend Lydia Kent (a gorgeous Angie Dickinson) from leaving him.  They’ve had a carnal, tempestuous relationship, and Don doesn’t want to let her go.  “Hasn’t anyone ever tried to cut your heart out?” Don asks Roberto as he shows him the Dear John letter Lydia left him.  “I doubt, my passionate friend, that it’s your heart that’s involved,” Roberto replies.  Ha!  Lydia leaves Don in spite of his pleas for her to stay, and he subsequently mopes around the boarding house in a grumpy huff.

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In the meantime Prudence is being wooed by Roberto, whom she likes but doesn’t feel romantic about.  When he kisses her she doesn’t hear wild bells ringing like she wants to.  Instead there are just distant tinkles.  Being a big fan of Brazzi and finding him quite attractive myself, I don’t really understand this! But to each her own.

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She explores Rome on her own, and gets a job at a bookstore owned by Daisy Bronson (Constance Ford), another American who escaped provincial life in the US to experience the lustiness of Italian men who pinch her bottom and make her feel like a real woman.

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One afternoon Prudence runs into Don at a sidewalk cafe and he apologizes for being such a grouchy jerk to her. They spend the day together and begin to fall in love.

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That evening they visit a nightclub and hear a beautiful song that becomes their musical theme as the movie progresses — “Al Di La.”  It’s a lushly romantic scene, as the camera moves back and forth from the singer on stage to the couple as they look into each other’s eyes and hold hands.

Jazz trumpet player Al Hirt is also at the nightclub.  He plays himself, or a version of himself, in a rather odd scene in which he introduces his girlfriend to Don and Prudence and has her show them the knife she keeps strapped to her thigh. Later, while Hirt performs on stage, the girlfriend makes out with another man and a brawl breaks out.

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As Don and Prudence continue to spend time together, they try to hide it from the curious and judgmental fellow inhabitants of the boarding house.

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To get away from prying eyes they take a trip around Italy together, seeing all the tourist spots and facing embarrassing decisions every time they come to a hotel.  Should they pose as a married couple or not?  One room or two?  Will they or won’t they?  Prudence insists on separate rooms, or on Don staying on the balcony when they only have one room, but she’s tempted to give in and sleep with him.  Her prim New England upbringing is at war with the more passionate side Italy is bringing out in her.

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When Prudence runs into Albert and his mother while shopping at a street market in a small town, she panics and lies to them, saying she’s on a bus tour with a group and rushing off before they get a glimpse of her with Don.  At first she and Don try to continue their trip, but in the end Prudence decides they need to stop traveling around alone together.  What if her parents found out?  Her conscience is getting the better of her, she says, so they return to Rome.

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Back at the boarding house, who should be waiting in Don’s bedroom but Lydia.  She regrets letting him go and greets him with a kiss, which Prudence walks in on.

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Lydia invites Prudence, Albert and Don to her house for dinner, and uses the occasion to give Prudence the mean girl treatment. She shows her around her bedroom, pointing out the big bed she and Don shared, the photograph he signed to her declaring his love.  Feeling she can’t compete with this sexy siren, Prudence breaks down crying, leaves the party and parts ways with Don, who seems confused about which woman he really wants to be with.

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She tries to prove to herself that she can lose her virginal ways and be like Lydia if she has to,  inviting herself to Roberto’s for the weekend with plans to seduce him. Roberto is a good guy, however, so he refuses her advances and tries to get her to go back to the man she really loves.

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Prudence decides it’s better to go back to America and takes the next ship home.  When she gets there her parents are waiting or her, but so is Don.  He took a plane to meet her there and declare his love.

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Rome Adventure isn’t going to make it onto anyone’s list of the best movies ever.  The dialogue can be extremely hokey at times, especially during the love scenes between Don and Prudence.  Suzanne Pleshette does the best she can with some terrible lines, and with her husky voice and intelligent demeanor she basically pulls it off.  Troy Donahue is no great shakes as an actor, however, and can be a little painful to listen to.

I also don’t get his romantic appeal at all, myself.  He’s bland and uninteresting — especially compared to Rossano Brazzi!  But obviously he had his fans back in the day, one of whom was Suzanne Pleshette herself.  They married in 1964, although it was short-lived and they divorced only nine months later.

Whatever its shortcomings of writing and acting, Rome Adventure is still fun to watch.  Getting a glimpse of Italy in the early 1960s is such a treat.  There’s just something about the country during the 1950s and ’60s that seems so magical, at least if the movies are to be believed.  The cinematography by Charles Lawton is beautiful, as is the memorable score by Max Steiner.  It had been several years since I saw Rome Adventure, and I enjoyed re-watching it.  It was a fluffy and fun way to kick off Springtime in Italy.

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Springtime in Italy – Summertime

I can’t believe it’s already time for the last Springtime in Italy post! I’m glad I committed to this series, since otherwise I’m not sure I’d have written here much at all in March. It’s been such a crazy, busy month.

Summertime (1955)

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Director David Lean’s Summertime is a gem, one with much more in common with his quiet, intimate 1945 film, Brief Encounter, than his sweeping sagas like Doctor Zhivago and Laurence of Arabia.  It’s a truly touching, romantic movie, and one that doesn’t seem to be as popular or well-known as it should be.  I absolutely love it.

Summertime is the story of a middle-aged spinster secretary from Akron Ohio, played by Katharine Hepburn.  She has scrimped and saved for years in order to visit Italy, and from the first moment we see her she is brimming with enthusiasm about her adventure.  She’s also clearly eager to connect with those around her, from her fellow tourists to the Italians she meets.

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Hepburn is a marvel in Summertime.  The hope and wonder her character feels at finally being in this place she’s dreamed about for so long is very affecting, as is her loneliness and longing for beauty and romance.

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She finds that romance in a handsome Venetian played by Rossano Brazzi.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is the one in which Hepburn, alone at a sidewalk cafe, realizes that Brazzi is gazing at her.

Her discomfiture at being noticed and appreciated by a good looking man is beautifully played.  Here is a woman who isn’t used to being paid attention to in that open, sensual, Italian way.  As much as she is yearning for romance and maybe even sex, she doesn’t know how to handle flirtation. The men in Akron don’t act this way – if they notice her at all, that is. 

Seeing Hepburn’s character come out of her shell – watching her put down the camera and start living life instead of simply observing from the sidelines – is a bittersweet joy.  Bittersweet because opening yourself up to love means opening yourself up to pain, and her admirer is a married man.  This isn’t the perfect, unencumbered romance she’s been dreaming of all these years.  These complications and compromises aren’t what she’s imagined for herself.

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I think Summertime is a movie that’s easier to appreciate when you’re a little older and can see that life isn’t quite what you dreamed it would be when you were young.  Things aren’t always straightforwardly black-and-white.  Is a little bit of imperfect romance in a love-starved life better than none at all?  Are a few days of passion and excitement worth the pain you might feel later?  There aren’t any easy answers – in the movie, or in life.

Or maybe I’m just a sucker for stories of forbidden romance.

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I really like Rossano Brazzi.  He is especially good in this, making what could have been a smarmy character – a married man seducing a naive tourist — into something more complex and difficult to judge.  He’s very attractive and has great chemistry with Katharine Hepburn.

As for Hepburn, “sexy” is not an adjective I would use for her generally, but there are moments in Summertime when she shows that side of herself, and you understand why Brazzi’s character can’t take his eyes off her.

Aside from the touching, poignant story and Hepburn’s great performance, the movie is well worth watching for the gorgeous views of Venice in 1955.

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The city looks glorious in Technicolor, but unfortunately for Katharine Hepburn, the beautiful looking canals of Venice were actually filthy and dangerously polluted.  One of the movie’s scenes called for her to fall into the water, which she gamely did.  She was left with lifelong eye problems because of a resulting infection.

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I have an extremely long list of desert island movies, admittedly, but Summertime is definitely on it, and pretty close to the top, too.  I watch it every year or so, and it always breaks my heart in the most enjoyable way.  If you only watch one of my Springtime in Italy recommendations, I hope it’s this one.  It’s such a special film.

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Summertime is available on DVD from the Criterion Collection.  There’s a good essay about the movie on the Criterion Site as well.

Springtime in Italy – Come September

Come September (1961)

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Come September is one of my very favorite movies set in Italy. It’s also one of the best of the spate of racy yet innocent “bedroom comedies” that came out in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, following in the wake of the super successful Pillow Talk in 1959.

In fact, for my money it’s the best one, with the exception of the three Doris Day and Rock Hudson did together.  It’s so much fun.  Rather than give a detailed recap of the plot, I’ll just mention some of the things I love most about Come September.

Rock Hudson

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With his entrée into comedy in Pillow Talk, Hudson proved he could carry a movie not just as a handsome leading man, but as a very funny one, too. Here he plays a wealthy American industrialist who visits his Italian villa once a year, in September. That’s also when he visits his Italian girlfriend, to whom he won’t commit. When he decides to visit earlier in the year than usual, little does he know that his girl’s on the verge of marrying someone else and his major domo is running his home as a hotel – and pocketing the profits.

His response to all the craziness he encounters is fantastic. He’s especially good in his scenes with Bobby Darin, Sandra Dee and the other youngsters in the cast, amusingly illustrating the “generation gap” that was beginning to appear in the early ‘60s and would grow so wide by the end of the decade. Hudson was a great, subtle reactor and comedy straight man. Plus, he was soooo good looking!

Gina Lollobrigida

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No wonder she was one of the stars most associated with 1950s va-va-voom! What a gorgeous lady. She was also a very funny one in this movie, driving Rock Hudson crazy with her fiery temper, incredible curves, and sympathy for the teenagers suddenly overrunning his home. Call me crazy, but if forced to choose which Italian bombshell I like the most, I’d pick Gina over Sophia, based entirely on my love for her in Come September.

Sandra Dee

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Oh, how I love sweet, spunky Sandra! I have such a soft spot for her movies, especially the romantic comedies. She’s cute as a button, with great comic timing. I hate that she’s mostly associated with the song from Grease, because there was a lot more to her than the virginal teenager she sometimes played. (See her as an adorably mischievous French-American minx in If a Man Answers, for instance.) I love the scene in which she uses her Psych 101 knowledge to play therapist to Rock Hudson, thinking he’s a shell-shocked former soldier. Hilarious!

Bobby Darin

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What a multi-talented guy. In addition to starring in Come September, Darin also wrote the movie’s catchy theme song, which plays over the opening credits, and sings another song he wrote, “Multiplication.” Darin and Dee met and fell in love while filming in Italy and were married soon thereafter. They have great onscreen chemistry, which you can see more of in their other movies – the aforementioned If a Man Answers, as well as That Funny Feeling, both of which have a certain Junior-Rock-and-Doris feel to them.

A great supporting cast

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The supporting cast includes Walter Slezak as Hudson’s sneaky major domo, Brenda De Banzie (best known to me as one of the kidnappers in Hitchcock’s 1956 The Man Who Knew Too Much) as the chaperone of Sandra Dee’s tour group, and a young Joel Grey as one of Bobby Darin’s troublemaking pals.

Pretty, pretty dresses

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Everyone in Come September looks lovely! Sandra Dee and the other girls wear sweet sundresses, pretty formals, and kicky Capri pants. Gina Lollobrigida wears a series of gorgeous dresses and negligees that emphasize her every curve. The men look pretty nice too! I love that clean-cut, early-‘60s look so much. The clothes in classic films are a huge part of their appeal for me, and this is one of my favorite movies when it comes to fashion.

Pretty, pretty scenery

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More than pretty, in fact. Shot on location in Rome, Milan and Portofino, Come September is a joy to look at. I swear, there must’ve been some special magic in Italy in the 1950s and ‘60s, because it looks absolutely enchanting in movies of that time. Maybe it’s the combination of gorgeous scenery with the (to me) more aesthetically pleasing clothes, hairdos and cars of the era. Maybe it’s the Technicolor.  Whatever the case, it’s delightful to see!

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Come September is the perfect lighthearted comedy to get you in the mood for Spring.  It’s available on DVD and of course you should check it out.  After all, any  movie that features a scene like this one just has to be good!

Springtime in Italy – It Started in Naples

It Started in Naples (1960)

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Of all the movies I plan to write about during this month’s Springtime in Italy series, It Started in Naples is the only one that’s new to me.  I watched it for the first time this week, and while I really wanted to love it, I didn’t.

I liked it well enough, but it’s a pretty routine story and for me the chemistry between the movie’s stars, Clark Gable and Sophia Loren, just wasn’t there.  Mostly I was thrown off by the huge age difference between Gable, who was in his early 60s when the movie was made, and Loren, who was in her mid 20s.

Still, the movie has its good points, the main one being the breathtakingly beautiful island of Capri, near Naples, where most of the story takes place.  There’s not a lot to say about this movie, but there’s a lot to look at, so get ready for an overload of screencaps!

Mike Hamilton, a straightlaced, all-business lawyer from Philadelphia, arrives in Naples.  His ne’er-do-well brother ran off to Italy years before and was recently killed in a boating accident.  Mike is there to sort out his affairs.  He’s informed that his brother had a wife (well,  “wife,” since they weren’t legally married) who was also killed in the accident, and they left behind a young son named Nando.

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Mike’s Italian lawyer drives him through the bustling streets of Naples, so he can meet his sister-in-not-law, Lucia Curcio, who is now raising Nando.  Lucia is queen of a festa taking place in Naples.  There are festas taking place much of the time there and on Capri.  Mike is skeptical of Italians and their ways.  He won’t drink the water and keeps a cynical eye out for pickpockets and others who prey on American tourists.

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Mike ventures to Capri, where Lucia and Nando live, so he can sort things out and get back to America as quickly as possible.  By chance he meets his nephew on the docks, where he is selling flowers to tourists.  He looks like a dirty little urchin, and he’s very precocious and street smart.  Nando is played by a boy billed only as Marietto.  He’s really adorable in this movie – naughty, sweet and mischievous, with the cutest accent.

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When Mike sees where and how Lucia lives, he is not impressed. The fact that she’s sleeping in the middle of the day doesn’t help his impression of her, either.  He’s an American after all, and siesta is for sissies!

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In spite of his concerns, Mike is a busy man with a snooty fiancee waiting for him back in Philadelphia and he wants to get home.  He learns that his brother wasted his fortune swanning around Italy, so he gives Lucia some money, says goodbye to Nando, and leaves.

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Unfortunately schedules in Italy aren’t what they are in the States, so he misses his boat and has to stay an extra night.  There’s an amusing bit in his hotel room when, realizing he doesn’t have any bottled water, Mike brushes his teeth with whiskey.

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That evening Mike sees Nando wandering around alone in the square, handing out flyers and sneaking cigarettes and cups of coffee off people’s tables.  He’s appalled, especially when he finds out his nephew can stay up so late because he doesn’t attend school.  The flyers he’s handing out are ads for a nightclub where Lucia is the scantily clad main attraction.

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Mike goes to the nightclub and gets an eyeful.  He jumps to all kind of conclusions about Lucia, including the incorrect assumption that she’s a prostitute.  One of the movie’s most memorable scenes is the one in which Sophia Loren sings a sexy, cheeky version of “Tu Vuo Fa L’Americano.”  Mama Mia!  Lucia has her own prejudices against stuffy Americans, just as Mike has his against “dolce far niente” Italians.

Mike is so upset by the life Nando is living with Lucia that he decides to stay and fight for custody of the boy.  Gable and Marietto are great in their scenes together, showing the growing affection between uncle and nephew.

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Mike’s lawyer separately advises both his client and Lucia that the way to solve their dispute over Nando is not by going to court, but by using their respective sex appeals to get the other person on their side.  So they do just that, starting with another scene in Lucia’s nightclub.  This time she’s doing a sexy schoolgirl act, singing “Carina.”

In spite of their initial ulterior motives, the two are soon falling for each other.  We see them together in scenes highlighting the beauty of Capri, including a ride on the funicular railway, a swim in the Blue Grotto, and a visit to a vineyard.

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For all the fun and romance they’re having, however, Mike doesn’t see himself marrying Lucia.  When she hears this from him she’s hurt and tempers flare.

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Soon the pair are in court.  Lucia wins custody, for obvious reasons.  Even Mike’s lawyer can’t keep his eyes off her and seems to be on her side, not his client’s.

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Lucia, having learned about responsibility from straightlaced Mike, starts to have doubts about keeping Nando.  She thinks he might be better off with Mike in America, where he can get an education and make something of himself.  Heartbroken for herself but thinking she’s doing the right thing for him, she tricks the boy into running away to Mike.

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Mike finds out what Lucia did and realizes how much she loves Nando.  He tells Nando he belongs with his aunt and sends him back to Capri.  But before Mike’s train departs, he meets a group of obnoxious, Italy-mocking American businessmen in his compartment and realizes he doesn’t want to be like them anymore.

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He rushes off the train, finds Nando, and heads back to Capri for the expected happy ending with Lucia.  He even drinks some Italian water.

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It Started in Naples is a fairly cute movie, but it’s nothing special.  The story is completely predictable, but that wouldn’t be a problem if it were funnier or if the stars were more appealing together.  Instead the humor is hit-or-miss and Clark Gable and Sophia Loren seem mismatched.

It’s a beautiful looking movie, though, with colorful views of what must be one of the most magical, appealing spots in Italy – or maybe in the world.  I can only imagine how many people took trips to Capri in the 1960s after seeing this movie.  It certainly makes me want to go!

Springtime in Italy – Three Coins in the Fountain

I got the idea for doing weekly Springtime in Italy posts this month from a silly annual ritual I’ve had for the past several years.  Once the weather starts getting warm and springy, I throw open the windows so I can hear the birds singing, make some Italian food, and spend a day watching my favorite movies set in Italy.

Sometimes I’ll watch more recent films like Only You or Under the Tuscan Sun, but usually it’s the classics I turn to for my Italian pseudo-vacation – Come September, Summertime, Rome Adventure, Light in the Piazza, Roman Holiday.  I’d rather visit Europe in the ‘50s and ‘60s anyway.  The clothes were so much nicer then.  All those lovely sundresses!

Today’s movie is one of the quintessential Americans-in-Italy movies from the 1950s.

Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)

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Three Coins in the Fountain is the cinematic equivalent of candy– a  sugary, low-nutrition confection that tastes good in the moment but might leave you feeling a little queasy afterward.  Still, I can’t help popping it in the DVD player every now and then because even though it’s fluff, it’s very pretty fluff.

The movie was Fox’s first big Cinemascope production, and director Jean Negulesco fills the wide screen with the most sumptuous, romantic views of Rome and the country surrounding it.  The costumes by Dorothy Jeakins are mid-50s perfect, and the Academy Award winning theme song, sung by Frank Sinatra, is beautiful and memorable.

Maybe too memorable.  After listening to it a couple of times, I always go around like a broken record, singing “Which one will the fountain bless?  Which oooone wiiiiiiiiiill the fountain bless?” for hours.  Here, listen and see if it doesn’t happen to you, too.

The story revolves around three American secretaries working in Rome.  Dorothy Maguire is the (supposedly) old one, Miss Frances.  She’s been working in Rome for fifteen years and is secretary to expatriate writer John Shadwell, played by Clifton Webb.  She’s in love with him, though she hides it behind her spinsterish professionalism.

Webb is hilarious as the sharp-tongued, dandyish Shadwell, who is basically a non-murderous version of Waldo Lydecker from Laura.  Poor Miss Frances doesn’t have any gaydar, and thus doesn’t think it odd that her beloved wears floppy bow ties, white gloves  and is a “confirmed bachelor.”

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Jean Peters is Anita.  She works for a US government office, where fraternizing with the local employees is strictly forbidden.  That’s too bad for her, because she’s attracted to Giorgio, a translator and law student portrayed by that staple of ‘50s/’60s movies set in Europe, the sexy Rossano Brazzi.  The feeling is mutual – he’s smitten with her, too.  Unfortunately the office’s ridiculous rules get in the way of their romance.  So does the lie Anita has told everyone as an excuse to quit her job and go home – that she’s engaged to a man in the States.

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A gushing sidenote on Rossano Brazzi, who will doubtless show up in at least one more Springtime in Italy post this month – I love him!  He’s so handsome and suave and Italian. He tended to play the same kind of character, at least in all the movies I’ve seen him in: the worldly Continental lover, forever kissing hands.

He was good at those roles, though, and when he had strong material to work with, as he did in my favorite of his films, Summertime, he showed a lot of sensitivity.  He was a dreamboat!  Here he is in Summertime, when he first lays eyes on Katharine Hepburn.  SWOON.

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Okay, back to the ladies of Three Coins.  Maggie McNamara is Maria, the new girl who arrives in Rome and moves in with roommates Frances and Anita.  Roommates seems the wrong word, though; palace-mates might be more appropriate.  The US dollar was really strong in Italy in the post-war years, I suppose, since even secretaries could afford huge houses and servants!   One of the characters even says something along those lines.  Whether it was really true or simply a justification for the girls’ glamorous digs I don’t know.

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Maria meets jet-setting, womanizing Prince Dino di Cessi, played by French actor Louis Jourdan, and despite being warned about his reputation as a lothario she sets out to catch him.  She does this by finding out about his tastes and opinions and pretending to share them.  He ends up in love with her, thinking they’re soulmates.  The audience ends up believing the conniving girl may not even have a soul.  I think Maria is supposed to be the cute if amusingly flawed heroine of the piece, but I find her insufferable.

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The ladies have romantic ups and downs with their men.  Frances feels doomed to old maidenhood, even accepting her housekeeper’s pity gift of a kitten to keep her company in her tragic spinsterhood.  She decides to give up and go home so she won’t grow old alone in a foreign land.

This finally inspires Shadwell to propose to her, offering her a marriage of convenience and companionship.  (Yay?  Personally, I think she’d be better off with the cat.)  But things don’t go smoothly even then, since he’s soon diagnosed with a terminal illness and breaks their engagement in order to spare her.

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Maria finally admits to Prince Dino that she’s been lying to and manipulating him, driving him away from her, albeit all too briefly.  Seriously, their storyline is just plain awful.  Their whole romance is based on her pretending to be someone she’s not, which is obviously the best way to start a relationship – especially with someone known for his inability to be faithful to a woman.

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In the movies’s only believable and compelling romance, Anita falls for the passionate Giorgio and admits to him that she isn’t really engaged.  But just when it seems they’ve found happiness, their boss sees them together outside the office.  He assumes Anita is not a “nice girl” anymore, since she broke the office rules and was out gallivanting with an Italian.  Giorgio loses his job and perhaps his chance to become a lawyer.

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Of course things finally work themselves out for our characters,  however unrealistically, and in the end all is well.  The three couples meet up at the Trevi fountain as the theme song reprises and we all wish we could jet off to Rome, preferably Rome circa 1954.

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As snippy as I can be about Three Coins in the Fountain, it’s a snippiness born out of grudging affection.  The movie is travelogue escapism – a way to see attractive people in a gorgeous setting and have an Italian vacation without ever leaving home.  On that level it’s quite enjoyable and worth watching.

Also, Rossano Brazzi is as delizioso as a dish of gelato on a warm day!  For me, that’s reason enough to see it.  Siiiigh.

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Coming Attractions: Springtime in Italy

With Fred MacMurray Fridays winding down this week, I thought it would be fun to do another theme on Fridays in March.  So next month I’ll be bringing you Springtime in Italy.

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Granted, it may not feel like Spring to some of you yet, but that’s all the more reason to celebrate the approach of warmer weather with movies that take you to sunny, scenic Italy.  Even if you don’t have the time or money to jet off to Europe, you can always enjoy a movie vacation, spending a day traveling to Rome, Venice, and Florence without ever leaving the couch.

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The hard part will be deciding which films to cover in only four Fridays.  The list of escapist classic movies set in Italy is very long!  Roman Holiday, Come September, Three Coins in the Fountain, Summertime, Rome Adventure, It Started in Naples and Light in the Piazza, to name only a few.

Speaking of Light in the Piazza, a lovely movie I’ve been dying to see released on DVD, this exchange was posted on the Warner Archive Facebook page on February 17th.

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Someone asked:  “Any chance we’ll see Light in the Piazza (1962), Devotion (1946) or the Natalie Wood film Penelope (1966) anytime soon?”  Warner Archive answered: “One of them is coming next week…..another this Summer…and another soon thereafter….so the answer is, yes (eventually!) to all three.”

Hurray!  Or maybe I should say “Meravigliosa!”  I’ll be on pins and needles until Light in the Piazza comes out.  I’ll also be hoping it will be remastered.  It’s such a beautiful, scenic movie that it deserves a little extra TLC.