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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Buona Sera Mrs. Campbell (1968)

For almost twenty years, an Italian woman (Gina Lollobrigida) and her daughter (Janet Margolin) have been supported by the monthly checks of three American men (Phil Silvers, Telly Savalas, Peter Lawford). Though none of the men know about the other, each of them believes he is the father of the girl since all three men were intimate with the mother during a ten day period during WWII. But when a twenty year reunion occurs, all three men return to Italy (along with their wives) hoping to see their daughter. That's when the fun starts! This giddy farce is reminiscent of the classic screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s. While it may lack the elegance and wit of an AWFUL TRUTH or reach the madcap hysterics of BRINGING UP BABY, it's close enough so that any quibbling is minor. Lollobrigida is gorgeous but it's the supporting players who shine. In particular, the inspired casting of Shelley Winters and Silvers as a perfectly match married couple, each of them doing impeccable double takes. Savalas as a loud American and Lee Grant as his brassy wife keep it up too. The film's plot was unofficially usurped for the musical MAMMA MIA!. Directed by Melvin Frank. With Phillippe Leroy, Marian McCargo and Naomi Stevens.

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