Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Suzanne Pleshette, Troy Donahue, Angie Dickinson, Rossano Brazzi, Hampton Fancher
Director: Delmer Daves
Release Date: 21 April 1962
Length: 119 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: TV
My Rating: 3/5 stars
“Disenchanted with her job as a teacher, Prudence Bell (Suzanne Pleshette) abruptly resigns and moves everything she owns to Italy, where she begins working at a neighborhood bookstore and meets a handsome young traveler on the rebound (Troy Donahue). As they tour their surroundings together, the two foreigners fall deeply in love. Angie Dickinson also stars in this 1960s romance based on the novel by Irving Fineman.” — Netflix.com
This is a lovely travelogue of Rome and some of the surrounding areas intermixed with a budding romance between two Americans living in Italy temporarily. Suzanne Pleshette plays a naive, innocent librarian named Prudence Bell who quit her job for loaning a student a romance novel. She realizes that she has never been in love and determined to travel to Rome to fall in love and to find someone to complete her life. She is young, beautiful and ripe for the plucking. Luckily, she has two protectors: Albert Stillwell (Hampton Fancher), a family friend’s son who is delightfully awkward and just adorable and Roberto Orlandi (Rossano Brazzi), an older Italian who would love to teach Prudence the ways of the flesh, but becomes satisfied to be her friend and offer advice. Prudence actually falls in love with the beautiful Don Porter (Troy Donahue) who gleams like Apollo in this setting. He is an art student who has just broken up with his girlfriend and believes himself quite jaded.
The plot is simple and straightforward: girl meets boy, falls in love, boy’s ex-girlfriend shows up and now the boy must choose between the two girls. Of course, the choice is obvious as to which girl he should pick, but he struggles with it. What fleshes this movie out into an event is the beauty of Italy itself. The two leads go on a lovely vacation in Italy that showcases some of the spectacular scenery in the mountains, Romeo & Juliet’s balcony in Verona, and some of the beautiful churches and buildings scattered throughout the country. This vacation is in addition to showing you the sights in Rome itself. So, while the plot is not complicated or encompassing, the scenery is lovely and it made me want to travel to Rome and take a chance on falling in love.
This is a simple, lovely romance that is gentle and does not show anything, but hints at the changes in their relationship. They manage to find a way to squeeze some wonderful music into the movie through performances in cafes and the like. If you are in the mood for a foreign romance, this old classic is a lovely choice and a fine way to pass the time.
While the two leads become lovers in this movie, nothing besides kissing is ever shown. There are discussions of physical intimacy, drinking, smoking, and some sensual scenes. Recommended for ages 10 and up.