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

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Olivia de Havilland and Rosanno Brazzi
LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA (1962). Director: Guy Green.

Meg Johnson (Olivia de Havilland) is in Italy with her daughter, Clara (Yvette Mimieux), when the latter meets and falls for a young Italian named Fabrizio (George Hamilton), who returns Clara's feelings. The problem is that not everyone is aware that the free-spirited, fun-loving Clara, who is in her mid-twenties, never advanced emotionally beyond ten or so years of age due to a childhood accident. Clara's father, Noel (Barry Sullivan) wants to put Clara in a home in an attempt to repair his marriage, while Meg thinks the real answer is for Clara to marry Fabrizio. But there may be other roadblocks to their nuptials. Light in the Piazza features some especially good performances from Mimieux [Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm] and Hamilton (in the days before he turned himself into a smarmy joke), but Sullivan [Forty Guns] mostly walks through his smaller part and de Havilland is terribly affected and a bit unreal. Rosanno Brazzi [Legend of the Lost] is better as Fabrizio's father. This is a movie that you want to like and be moved by, but there's just something off about it, especially a strange business involving a man killed by cannon fire during a sporting exhibition. Nice location footage of Florence. Many years later this was turned into a musical.

Verdict: Some good performances help ... **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Not in love with this film, either, Bill, though the scenery and Yvette and George Hamilton are beautiful indeed. Sometimes Olivia deH is so divine, other times she is just a bit too uptight and grand and emotionless, as she is in this.

My best friend and I were just talking about how George Hamilton might have done a better job than Warren Beatty in Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Warren's Italian accent is so phony that it almost (but not quite) ruins the picture for me. George Hamilton handles the accent quite credibly.

William said...

Yes, you're right about the accent. Hamilton was arguably the better actor at that time, too. It's funny about Hamilton -- he started out giving committed, serious performances and I guess he just didn't care and degenerated into a dirty joke. And he was genuinely talented. I hear he was rich and had less ambition than others. Who knows? Miss DeH suffered from "Bette Davis" syndrome in later life becoming, as you say, very grand!