Here’s a brief look – to be expanded – at Turner Classic Movies’ June 2017 European Vacation Movie Series this evening, June 23. Tonight’s destination of choice is Italy.
Starring Suzanne Pleshette and Troy Donahue as the opposite of Ugly Americans who find romance and heartbreak in the Italian capital, Delmer Daves’ Rome Adventure (1962) was one of the key romantic movies of the 1960s. Angie Dickinson and Rossano Brazzi co-star.
In all, Rome Adventure is the sort of movie that should please fans of Daves’ Technicolor melodramas like A Summer Place, Parrish, and Susan Slade. Fans of his poetic Westerns – e.g., 3:10 to Yuma, The Hanging Tree – may (or may not) be disappointed with this particular Daves effort.
As an aside, Rome Adventure was, for whatever reason, a sizable hit in … Brazil.
Who knows, maybe that’s why Rome Adventure co-star Brazzi would find himself playing a Brazilian – a macho, traditionalist coffee plantation owner, to boot – in Paul Sylbert’s 1964 romantic comedy Instant Love / Pão de Açúcar (lit., Sugar Loaf), in which the Brazilian Brazzi meets and falls in love with American visitor Rhonda Fleming.
The year before he directed his best-known film, To Kill a Mockingbird, Robert Mulligan handled the romantic travails of Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida, Sandra Dee, and Golden Globe winner for Most Promising Male Newcomer Bobby Darin in the light comedy Come September (1961).
Gina Lollobrigida returns in Melvin Frank’s Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968), while William Wyler’s Roman Holiday (1953) is the pleasant – if a bit overlong – movie that turned Belgian-born actress Audrey Hepburn into both an international star and a Best Actress Oscar winner. Her runaway princess is thoroughly charming, but is that a memorable portrayal on a par with Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity? Or even Leslie Caron in Lili?
Hepburn herself would do much better work, both in comedies and dramas, elsewhere (The Nun’s Story, Charade, Two for the Road), but Gregory Peck – who was bypassed by the Academy – is quite good as the journalist with whom she develops a platonic relationship.
And finally, California surfer Cindy Carol is the star of Paul Wendkos’ Gidget Goes to Rome (1963), playing the character originated on the big screen by Come September co-star Sandra Dee and later incarnated on the small screen by Sally Field.
While you’re traveling, why not take a side trip to mingle with Aran islanders in Robert Flaherty’s Man of Aran (1934), and then go hang out with Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers at their Jamaican school in Rudolph Cartier’s Passionate Summer / Storm Over Jamaica (1958), and finally, go steal a few jewels with Chester Morris’ Boston Blackie and Detour actress Ann Savage in Lew Landers’ After Midnight with Boston Blackie (1943) – which, as it happens, isn’t really set in Boston, but at Columbia Pictures’ B unit.
8:00 PM ROME ADVENTURE (1962). Director: Delmer Daves. Cast: Troy Donahue. Suzanne Pleshette. Angie Dickinson. Rossano Brazzi. Hampton Fancher. Constance Ford. Chad Everett. Pamela Austin. Iphigenie Castiglioni. Uncredited: Norma Varden. Color. 119 mins. Letterbox Format.
10:15 PM COME SEPTEMBER (1961). Director: Robert Mulligan. Cast: Rock Hudson. Gina Lollobrigida. Sandra Dee. Bobby Darin. Walter Slezak. Brenda de Banzie. Rossana Rory. Ronald Howard. Joel Grey. Joan Freeman. Color. 113 mins.
12:30 AM BUONA SERA MRS. CAMPBELL (1968). Director: Melvin Frank. Cast: Gina Lollobrigida. Shelley Winters. Phil Silvers. Peter Lawford. Telly Savalas. Lee Grant. Janet Margolin. Color. 113 mins. Letterbox Format.
2:45 AM ROMAN HOLIDAY (1953). Director: William Wyler. Cast: Gregory Peck. Audrey Hepburn. Eddie Albert. Harcourt Williams. Margaret Rawlings. Tullio Carminati. Hartley Power. B&W. 118 mins.
5:00 AM GIDGET GOES TO ROME (1963). Director: Paul Wendkos. Cast: Cindy Carol. James Darren. Jessie Royce Landis. Cesare Danova. Joby Baker. Lisa Gastoni. Don Porter. Jeff Donnell. Color. 104 mins.
7:00 AM MAN OF ARAN (1934). Director: Robert Flaherty. Cast: Colman King. Maggie Dirrane. Michael Dillane. B&W. 77 mins.
8:30 AM STORM OVER JAMAICA (1958). Director: Rudolph Cartier. Cast: Virginia McKenna. Bill Travers. Yvonne Mitchell. Alexander Knox. Carl Möhner. Color. 99 mins.
10:30 AM AFTER MIDNIGHT WITH BOSTON BLACKIE (1943). Director: Lew Landers. Cast: Chester Morris. Richard Lane. Ann Savage. B&W. 65 mins.