Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Take 3 girls - Italian style

Here's an oddity: despite my affection for British and Italian cinema I had never heard of SOUVENIR D'ITALIE (or IT HAPPENED IN ROME) a 1957 confection about 3 girls travelling in Italy - its sort of a romantic comedy with lots of scenery, a fascinating view now. But why it is so unknown, ok its just a bit of fluff, but maybe it never even played here - I checked my 1957 "Films and Filming" magazines and there is no review or ads for it (ditto another '57 one filmed in Italy: Diana Dors and Vittorio Gassman in THE GIRL AT THE PALIO set at the famous Palio race in Sienna). 

This one - SOUVENIR D'ITALIE - features prim English girl June Laverick (she wears spectacles!) driving her snazzy sportscar and giving a lift to hitchers Isabelle Corey (the headstrong one) and German Ingeborg Schoner (the sensible one). The car zooms zooms over the cliff into the sea at Portofino, so the gals have to hitch. We see them in Florence,Venice and Pisa before they head to Rome, so yes lots of Italy as it was 50+ years ago. 
An amusing sequence sees British grand dame Isabel Jeans (in a dry run for her role in GIGI) posing by that statue of David, with Alberto Sordi as her companion. He soon joins the girls through. Other men are Gabrielle Ferzetti and Massimo Girotti and Vittorio De Sica - for it is he - as a Count who offers the girls some hospitality in Venice. The men of course are dubbed but it does not matter in a slight trifle like this. I liked it a lot, directed by Antonio Pietrangeli. The girls of course all end up with their particular guy. 
June Laverick was a British starlet of the era, who did a few trifles (THE DUKE WORE JEANS with Tommy Steele, a Norman Wisdom film, and a good role in Losey's THE GYPSY AND THE GENTLEMAN in 1958, last credit in 1970). 
This was Italy before the LA DOLCE VITA era took off, Corey went on to Bolognini's GIOVANI MARITI while Ferzetti was on that island with Antonioni and Vitti for L'AVVENTURA filmed in late 1959.  Vittorio clocked up 10 acting credits in '57 - he probably just spent a few days on this one. 


  1. Antonio Pietrangeli (the director of SOUVENIRS D'ITALIE) has been rediscovered of late; two years ago, The Museum of Modern Art did a retrospective (he only made a few films, before dying prematurely in the early 1960s, the result of an auto accident). You should check out ADUA AND HER FRIENDS from 1960; it stars Simone Signoret, Emmanuelle Riva, Sandra Milo, and Marcello Mastroianni; it's about five prostitutes who are out-of-work when the laws change and brothels are outlawed. Instead of becoming streetwalkers, the five decide to pool their resources and open a restaurant. Another fine Pietrangeli movie is I KNEW HER WELL from 1965, which stars Stefania Sandrelli as a gorgeous girl who drifts into various careers, eventually becoming a movie star. Both of these movies have been out on DVD here in the US, but check if they're available in the UK.

  2. Good to see you back here Daryl. I came across photos of Pietrangeli's ADUA AND HER FRIENDS in "Films & Filming" magazines, under a different name. With that cast it should be fascinating (rather like the cast in Dassin's LA LOI in '59). Will have to check its availability.

  3. I never heard of it either and frankly I am not sure I want to; the posters look better than the movie sounds. ADUA AND HER FRIENDS sounds the better bet. I will check that one out.