It Started In Naples (1960)

MELVILLE SHAVELSON Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  USA, 1960.  Capri Productions, Paramount Pictures.  Story by Michael Pertwee, Jack Davies, Screenplay by Melville Shavelson, Jack Rose, Suso Cecchi D’Amico.  Cinematography by Robert Surtees.  Produced by Jack Rose.  Music by Alessandro Cicognini, Carlo Savina.  Production Design by Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira.  Costume Design by Orietta Nasalli-Rocca.  Film Editing by Frank Bracht.  Academy Awards 1960.  Golden Globe Awards…

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A Special Day (Una Giornata Particolare) (1977)

ETTORE SCOLA Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  Italy/Canada, 1977.  Compagnia Cinematografica Champion, Canafox Films.  Screenplay by Ruggero Maccari, Ettore Scola, collaboration with Maurizio Costanzo.  Cinematography by Pasqualino de Santis.   Produced by Carlo Ponti.  Music by Armando Trovajoli.  Production Design by Luciano Ricceri.  Costume Design by Enrico Sabbatini.  Film Editing by Raimondo Crociani.  Academy Awards 1977.  Cannes Film Festival 1977.  Golden Globe Awards 2017.  Podcast:  My Criterions. It’s May 8,…

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The Black Orchid

BBBB (out of 5) Sophia Loren is in mourning after the death of her husband, working day and night to make ends while her son is upstate in a juvenile detention centre. Anthony Quinn espies this sad beauty while visiting her neighbours and immediately falls in love, begging her to go out with him and refused the pleasure until…

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The Millionairess

B (out of 5) Abysmally confused adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play, about a wealthy heiress (Sophia Loren, whose delightfully intelligent humour can do very little to save the show) whose father leaves instructions in his will that she only marry a man who takes a sum of her money and multiplies it in a given…

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Boccaccio ’70

BBB.5 (out of 5) Four movies for the price of one, though at three and a half hours you certainly feel like you’ve had to work for it. Four situations are constructed around erotic folly in the spirit of the titular fourteenth century writer, trying to recapture and expand on the success of Yesterday, Today…

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Operation Crossbow

BBB (out of 5) British intelligence sends three men across enemy lines during World War II to find and infiltrate a Nazi factory, where the Germans are creating rocket technology that they will use to destroy London. George Peppard and Tom Courtenay are already parachuting down from their planes when an intelligence error results in…

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A Countess From Hong Kong

BB (out of 5) Charles Chaplin waited ten years to follow up the box office disappointment of A King In New York and, sadly, fared little better in this his last feature film. Marlon Brando plays a wealthy oil tycoon who is traveling home to America from Hong Kong, poised to take on the role…

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The Condemned Of Altona (I Sequestrati di Altona)

BB (out of 5) Vittorio De Sica made movies that were often less important than his best, but it is rare to see one that is actually boring.  He gets no life out of Jean-Paul Sartre’s miserable play about a German industrial family who enjoy their post-war wealth while ignoring the dark secrets of their…

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Desire Under The Elms

BB (out of 5) Boring adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s play features an early English-speaking performance by Sophia Loren.  Anthony Perkins plays a farmboy whose widowed father (Burl Ives) brings home a foreign woman (Loren) as his new wife. Perkins is angry about the situation, then finds himself at a moral crossroads when he develops true feelings…

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Quo Vadis

BBB (out of 5) Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr throw Christians to the lions, then live to feel the conscientious guilt. Huge sets and thousands of extras in ‘authentic’ Biblical period costumes are exciting and eye-popping, but the only thing that makes this film worth reaching for instead of similar sandal epics like Ben-Hur and The Robe…

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Nine

BB.5 (out of 5) Maury Yeston’s musical play, adapted from Federico Fellini’s classic 8 1/2, is brought to the big screen by Chicago‘s Rob Marshall. Daniel Day-Lewis subs for Marcello Mastroianni as the filmmaker who has achieved world fame and now has nothing to say and no idea what to do about his latest project. His sets…

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Arabesque

BB.5 (out of 5) It couldn’t possibly come as any surprise that an attempt to recapture the success of Charade would produce a cheap imitation. What’s shocking in the case of Arabesque is the fact that the cheap imitation has been made by the same people who produced the sterling original. Stanley Donen reteams with…

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