|Suzanne Pleshette and Troy Donahue|
"What if something happened to you?" -- Mrs. Bell
"Mother -- what if nothing did?" -- Prudence
Prudence Bell (Suzanne Pleshette of A Rage to Live) decides to resign from her position in a fashionable girls school because she gave a student a too lustily "romantic" novel to read and the old hen board disapprove. Looking for romance herself, she travels to Italy and gets a room in a pensione, where she meets Don (Troy Donahue), who's just been jilted by the wealthy Lyda Kent (Angie Dickinson). On the rebound, Don travels all over Italy with Prudence, as the two fall in love to the strains of Max Steiner's pretty score and all the attractive scenery. But then, who pops back up but Lyda ... Rome Adventure has a few good moments and performances but it's not a very good movie. Pleshette is a good actress, but there's something so unpleasantly aggressive, almost tough, about her that you can understand how she managed to get that tom cat Donahue to the alter (albeit it took two years and the marriage only lasted eight months); she hasn't a trace of vulnerability. As for Donahue, he's slightly better in this than, say, My Blood Runs Cold, perhaps because he was developing some romantic feelings for Pleshette, but anyway you look at it he's no actor. Rosanno Brazzi is the handsome older man whose kisses don't bring out bells in Prudence; Constance Ford -- in a typical Constance Ford movie role -- is the wise older woman who employs Prudence in a book shop; Hampton Fancher is the charmingly shy Albert, an American boy who has a big crush on Prudence; Pamela Austin is a young lady who has a brief flirtation with Albert; Gertrude Flynn is her chaperone; and even Al Hirt shows up playing himself at one point, only to have his haughty model-like date wind up making out with a sexy Italian stallion; all of them are fine. The two best scenes have Prudence and Lyda sparring with each other during dinner with Don and Albert; and a very nice scene between Albert and Prudence on a train. A singer who comes out with "Al di la" in a restaurant deserves his applause, but it's ridiculous when dozens of people start clapping after Don -- remember this is Troy Donahue -- finishes up a poorly delivered speech from Romeo and Juliet [admittedly, Don is no more an actor than Troy is]. As for Brazzi, he had more time to romance Katharine Hepburn (in Venice) in Summertime. Chad Everett is listed in the cast and in the opening credits, but his scenes must have been left on the cutting room floor.
Verdict: Pretty things to look at and listen to but don't expect more. **1/2.