Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)

Director: Jean Negulesco
Starring: Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters, Louis Jourdan, Maggie McNamara, Rossano Brazzi, Howard St. John, Kathryn Givney, Cathleen Nesbitt

Here lies the tale of three American women living in Rome. Maria (McNamara) is the new secretary of the United States Distribution Agency who immediately becomes attracted to Prince Dino (Jourdan), a rich playboy and alleged womaniser. Maria is replacing Anita (Peters), who is heading back to the States to apparently marry though she's really interested in fellow employee Giorgio (Brazzi) despite the agency's stance on fraternisation between the sexes. Anita lives with Miss Frances (McGuire) whose the longtime secretary of American author John Shadwell (Webb), who's harbouring a secret.

Padded but inoffensive old-fashioned tale of love in all flavours - remember, it's the 50's - is generally easy on the eye thanks to wonderful location shooting from Milton R. Krasner (All About Eve), who won an Oscar for his work, and a cast of likeable and charming people. The films title tune, sung by Frank Sinatra, also won an Oscar.

Webb as the down-to-earth author is slightly above the rest of the cast, though Brazzi's sentimental portrayal of the working class Giorgio is well managed. Negulesco previously made a similar and more successful film involving three woman who all find true love known as How to Marry a Millionaire. The fountain itself has appeared in similar circumstances in other films including Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita and the Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck starring Roman Holiday. Fun but limited.


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