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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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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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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Indiscretion of an American Wife (Stazione Termini) (Station Terminus)

BB.5 (out of 5) David O. Selznick teamed up with director Vittorio De Sica to produce a Hollywood movie in Rome using a story by Cesare Zavattini as its basis, and the result was a disaster. Thoroughly displeased with the process of working with de Sica and disappointed with the finished result, Selznick took the…

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Terminal Station (Station Terminus) (Stazione Termini)

BB (out of 5) Displeased with the results of his collaboration with de Sica, producer David O. Selznick would later cut this film down to 60 minutes (from the original 90) and release it in North America as Indiscretion of an American Wife. The original version is not that different or much better than the…

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General Della Rovere (Il Generale Della Rovere)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Superb war drama marks a very high point in director Roberto Rossellini’s career. Vittorio De Sica gives a magnificent performance as a n’er-do-well gambling addict in occupied Italy who creates a financial mess for himself by gambling away the money he takes from Italians in need of favours from his German officer…

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The Earrings Of Madame De… (Madame De…)

BBBB (out of 5) Max Ophuls was such a master of making films that were incredibly beautiful and so strikingly unimportant. In fact, the shallow romances that inhabited many of his films would have prevented them from being remembered if it wasn’t for his skills in creating images that gave his work the passion that…

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The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis (Il Giardino Dei Finzi Contini)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) The utter confusion of the Holocaust is captured in this beautifully photographed film by Vittorio De Sica. The Finzi-Continis are a prominent, wealthy Italian family who find it incredible that their secure life and estate could possibly be threatened by the Nazis simply because of their Jewish faith. When the Germans…

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Sunflower (I Girasoli)

BB.5 (out of 5) Following the wonders of Yesterday Today and Tomorrow and Marriage Italian Style, the reunion of Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren with director Vittorio de Sica should provide for another classic, but this one doesn’t quite make it. It’s an awkward combination of humour and pathos as Loren reaches the end of World War…

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Woman Times Seven

BB (out of 5) Director Vittorio de Sica and screenwriter Cesare Zavattini attempt to recreate the success of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow but fail miserably to hit the same mark. Now, instead of enjoying Sophia Loren playing three women we have the pleasure of Shirley MacLaine playing seven of them in a series of vignettes about…

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