April 22, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C
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Biopics

Christine

Antonio Campos' take on the Christine Chubbock suicide is all about the stunning Rebecca Hall.

Drama

Zodiac

A decade later David Fincher's serial killer film still stands tall as a study in administrative futility.

Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson's dives into the British fashion world of the 1950s, and creates an difficult romance.

American Made

Tom Cruise is in top form in Doug Liman's sly take on the life and times of one Barry Seal.

Lucky

John Carroll Lynch's ode to veteran American actor Harry Dean Stanton is a small-town masterpiece.

Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman's portrayal of Winston Churchill is the bright, shining light in a film about England's time of woe.

My Cousin Rachel

Roger Mitchell's "My Cousin Rachel" is 19th-century period drama without surprises.

Horror

It Comes at Night

Trey Edward Shults' low budget thriller links a killer plague with human mistrust and fear wins out.

68 Kill

Trent Haaga's screwball horror flick is crazy girl power on blood-spangled speed.

Science Fiction

Pacific Rim Uprising

The first "Pacific Rim" included a nod to the human race. The second is pure monster alley.




Date: 1962
Directed by: Delmer Daves
Starring: Suzanne Pleshette, Troy Donahue, Rossano Brazzi, Hampton Fancher, Angie Dickinson, Al Hirt

Rome Adventure

Among the films representing postwar Rome, the 1953 "Roman Holiday" (Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck) and "La Dolce Vita"(1960) stand out, the former a study in innocence, the latter in decadence. "Rome Adventure" has been largely forgotten, and perhaps shouldn't be, though the screenplay is predictable and packed with stereotypes.

Prudence Bell (perky Suzanne Pleshette), a 21-year-old librarian at a woman's college in Connecticut, heads to Rome to find love. She has three possibilities: Albert Stillwell (Hampton Fancher), a student of Etruscology, whose pickup line is "Do you have any interest in the Etruscans?"); Roberto Orlandi (Rossano Brazzi), a reserved, charmingly lecherous Italian twice her age ("I think It takes a man to make a woman out of a girl"); and American graduate student Don Porter (Troy Donahue), as pretty as Prudence but otherwise ordinary ("A couple of Stregas turn the world gold for me…"). As a rival for Don's affections, Lyda Kent (a devilish Angie Dickinson) supplies the plot's only tension.

What makes the film worth seeing is its luscious portrait of Rome, orchestrated by director of photography Charles Lawton, Jr., whose credits include "The Lady from Shanghai" (1947). Lawton had a reputation for excellence in the black and white medium (here he works in color) and for outdoor action films. He and director Delmer Daves offer a virtual tour of Rome's attractions: Piazza Navona (where Prudence works in an American book shop), the Coliseum, the Altare della Patria, the Campidoglio, Piazza della Repubblica, the Tiber, St. Peter's — and more. Prudence rides sidesaddle on Don's Vespa. When Don and Prudence travel north, we see the "monster" sculptures at Bomarzo, the leaning tower, and a spectacular Dolomite refuge.

Fancher, who plays the Stillwell character, went on to write the screenplays for "Blade Runner" (1982) and "Blade Runner 2049" (2017) —worlds away from 1962 Rome, just as Fancher, with ties to William Burroughs, was no student of Etruscans.

Reviewed by: William Graebner and Dianne Bennett
Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

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