The Barefoot Contessa

The Barefoot Contessa

Joseph L Mankiewicz (1954)

126min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
"The world's most beautiful animal", shrieked the ads for this mordant satire on the movie business. Unsurprisingly, nobody disputed the fact, for "the animal" was none other than Ava Gardner in her prime, playing a character based on her glamorous predecessor Rita Hayworth. Humphrey Bogart co-stars as her cynical director, Harry Dawes: "I made her," he snarls, witheringly, and you believe him. Director/writer Joseph L Mankiewicz had previously satirised Broadway in the multi-Oscar-winning All about Eve, and this is similar, but far less theatrical. Edmond O'Brien collected an Oscar here as the sweaty publicist, and there's a star-making performance from Rossano Brazzi. By the way, the bare feet belonged not to Gardner but to Margo Lorenz, who was also the foot-double for Gardner in The Little Hut, and went on to star in some British B-movies.

Summary

Three men gather at the funeral of a Spanish actress and countess who rose from peasant origins to become a Hollywood star. A movie director recalls how he made her famous, a PR agent remembers her doomed romance with a millionaire, and her aristocratic husband contemplates the events that destroyed their marriage. Satirical drama in flashback format, with Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, Edmond O'Brien, Rossano Brazzi and Marius Goring.

Cast & Crew

Harry Dawes Humphrey Bogart
Maria Vargas Ava Gardner
Oscar Muldoon Edmond O'Brien
Alberto Bravano Marius Goring
Eleanora Torlato-Favrini Valentina Cortese
Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini Rossano Brazzi
Jerry Elizabeth Sellars
Kirk Edwards Warren Stevens
Director Joseph L Mankiewicz
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: United Artists Corp. LtdAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray
Drama