The Barefoot Contessa (1954) [ReUp]

Posted By: Someonelse
The Barefoot Contessa (1954) [ReUp]

The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
DVD9 | VIDEO_TS | PAL 4:3 | Cover | 02:04:50 | 7,37 Gb
Audio: #1 English, #2 French, #3 German, #4 Spanish - AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps (each track)
Subs: English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Genre: Crime, Romance, Drama, Mystery

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Writer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien

Humphrey Bogart plays a washed up director who gets a new opportunity from a millionaire (Warren Stevens) that wants to make a film starring his girlfriend (Ava Gardner in the title role), a Spanish beauty peasant who dances the flamenco provocatively. O'Brien plays a press agent. Gardner's character becomes a star after three films with (a fatherly) Bogart; she then runs off with a millionaire playboy played by Marius Goring. Later, she marries a Count (Rossano Brazzi) with a protective sister (Valentina Cortese) and a secret. The movie actually begins with the Contessa's funeral, with the story being told in flashback such that the audience eventually learns how and why she died.

Written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve (1950)), this slightly above average drama features the Academy Award winning Supporting Actor performance by Edmond O'Brien (the first of his two nominations in the category); original story and screenplay writer Mankiewicz was also Oscar nominated.

IMDB - Won 1 Oscar
Rotten Tomatoes

The Barefoot Contessa (1954) [ReUp]

The Barefoot Contessa combines the flashback structure of Citizen Kane with an attention-grabbing variant of the standard showbiz rags-to-riches story. The film's cynical tone and shifting viewpoint is similar to writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's earlier success, All About Eve. (Citizen Kane was co-written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz's brother, Herman Mankiewicz). The derivative nature of the story aside, The Barefoot Contessa is a beautiful-looking film, with cinematographer Jack Cardiff putting the film's Italian locations to magnificent use.

The Barefoot Contessa (1954) [ReUp]

Given what was happening concurrently in Italian cinema, The Barefoot Contessa is an interesting glimpse at neo-realism Hollywood-style. There's very little original about it, but it skillfully combines disparate elements drawn from more classic works. The result, while not a masterpiece, is an intelligent, well-produced example of storytelling, highlighted by occasional bursts of passionate dialogue and solid performances.
Richard Gilliam, Rovi
The Barefoot Contessa (1954) [ReUp]

Scouting talent for an upcoming film to be shot in Italy, a trio from Hollywood (writer/director Bogart, producer Stevens and publicist O'Brien) travel to Spain to scope renowned local dancing sensation Maria Vargas (Gardner). Immediately, they are struck by her beauty and presence. In fact, Gardner has a profound effect on every man she meets…though the effect is as unique as each man she encounters. Stevens sees a talent to be exploited for all it's worth and O'Brien sees only huge marquees and dollar signs. But Bogart, after a couple of brief but revealing conversations with Maria, sees so much more. Expecting a naive Spanish peasant eager to grab at the brass ring, he finds instead a woman as smart as she is beautiful, whose main motivation is to enjoy the challenge and escape that a Hollywood career might offer a woman who will nevertheless always value the simpler things in life. Even with her inate beauty and uncommon savvy, to Maria's detriment she does not have eyes in the back of her head. Told in flashback the viewer experiences her success in Hollywood and her quest to find the true love of a man (Brazzi) that has always eluded her.

The Barefoot Contessa (1954) [ReUp]

In the hands of Joseph Mankiewicz, "The Barefoot Contessa" frequently bristles with crackling dialogue (would you have expected less?). Unique to this contribution from Mankiewicz is the portent that hangs over the film. As the details of Maria's life are expounded, empathy for her fate increases accordingly. Impeccably well-cast, this is actually an ensemble film. Gardner is luminous as Maria, though she is not solely dependent on her looks to carry the film–she gives a real performance. Bogart is stalwart and sympathetic as Maria's protector. And O'Brien, in an Academy Award-winning turn, is sly and oily as the single-minded publicist who changes allegiances as often as his sweat-soaked shirts. Lensed by the great Jack Cardiff and shot largely in Italy, the European ambiance, as well as the snappy dialogue, push the credibility of the premise a notch or two above so many other so-called exposés of Hollywood excess and pretense.
IMDB Reviewer
The Barefoot Contessa (1954) [ReUp]

I did not expect to be drawn into this story as much as I was. In fact, I couldn't stop watching it even though you know that she dies in the end. Bogart and Gardner are just mesmerizing even when playing characters that are far from perfect. Their friendship seemed genuine and is the crux of the film. It's Maria's story told from the point-of-view of Harry and Oscar. I really liked the film's use of voice over and flash backs. It made me feel like I was getting the real story behind her life, like I was a special confidant to this men. The minute Gardner appears onscreen she grabs you and refuses to let go. If you like Hollywood success/failure stories this is definitely one to watch.
Excerpt from Crazy4Cinema's Review
The Barefoot Contessa (1954) [ReUp]

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