Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN (1954). Director: Jean Negulesco.

"The prospect of waking up to an unexpected arousal of passion at my age is as disturbing as it is miraculous." -- John Shadwell.

In Rome the unmarried Miss Francis (Dorothy McGuire) is secretary to confirmed bachelor-author John Shadwell (Clifton Webb). Her friend and fellow American Anita (Jean Peters), who also works as a secretary, is leaving for home, ostensibly to get married. Her replacement is the similarly single Maria (Maggie McNamara). While Miss Francis pines for Shadwell, Maria sets her cap on handsome Prince Dino (Louis Jourdan) and Anita dallies with her equally handsome co-worker Giorgio (Rossano Brazzi). There are the usual romantic complications. Frankly there isn't a heck of a lot to this movie except some good performances -- Webb is as marvelous as ever and gets the best lines -- beautiful Italian scenery and very nice photography. Despite that, the picture is smooth and reasonably entertaining. Jean Peters is very attractive and saucy; McNamara is a bit on the bland side; and McGuire is hampered by having to feign a yen for the aging "bachelor" Webb. Cathleen Nesbitt probably makes the best impression among the ladies as Jourdan's lovely old mother. Vincent Padula of The Cyclops plays a doctor and Norma Varden [Witness for the Prosecution] is a party guest who has an amusing exchange with Webb.The title tune is warbled by Frank Sinatra and the score is by Victor Young.

Verdict: At the very least it's a pretty travelogue. ***.

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