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The Barefoot Contessa

  • Drama
  • 1954
  • Joseph L Mankiewicz
  • 126 mins
  • PG

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.

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Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

"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.

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Credits

Cast

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Harry DawesHumphrey Bogart
Maria VargasAva Gardner
Oscar MuldoonEdmond O'Brien
Alberto BravanoMarius Goring
Eleanora Torlato-FavriniValentina Cortese
Vincenzo Torlato-FavriniRossano Brazzi
JerryElizabeth Sellars
Kirk EdwardsWarren Stevens
PedroFranco Interlenghi
MyrnaMari Aldon
Mrs EubanksBessie Love
Drunken blondeDiana Decker
J Montague BrownBill Fraser

Crew

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DirectorJoseph L Mankiewicz

Details

Theatrical distributor
United Artists Corp. Ltd
Language
English
Available on
video, DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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