Tuesday, October 27, 2009
BAREFOOT CONTESSA (1954).
The story begins at the funeral of the BAREFOOT CONTESSA, who was once a Hollywood star and told through the eyes of Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart), in flashbacks. Going back in years we see a group Hollywood scouts looking for locations in Europe for an upcoming movie to be filmed in Italy. First to Madrid to check out a local dancer by the name of Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner) as the lead in the new movie. The director Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart), who is going to be directing the new film, producer Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens) and public relations Oscar Muldoon (Edmond O'Brien).
Impressed by Maria's beauty and talent the men talk her into accepting the lead role in the movie which Maria sees as not only a perfect escape from Madrid, but as a way for her to achieve her dreams. Maria has success in three films all directed by Harry, however along the way she begins to see that Hollywood stardom comes at a high price. Now the victim of the men in her life Maria can only express who she is and what she really wants from life to her only true friend Harry. Unhappy with her empty movie career Maria goes back to Europe and picks up with a gambler Albert Bravano (Marius Goring), who treats her as a possession. Then moving on to Count Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini (Rossan Brazzi), a rich Italian who carries a dark secret of his own. Filming in Europe Harry decides to find Maria and learns she is engaged to Vincenzo. On her wedding night she finds out Vincenzo cannot father children. Now, she has to make a very important decision.
What makes this film work is the wonderful performance of Ava Gardner. If you watch the "The Barefoot Contessa" and you will see why many have said that she is one of the most beautiful woman.
The character of Maria Vargas is said to be based on Rita Hayworth who was actually offered the part.