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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

C'era Una Volta (aka More Than A Miracle) (1967)

Annoyed when his mother (Dolores Del Rio) nags him about taking a wife, a rather arrogant Prince (Omar Sharif) flees the palace to the countryside where he is thrown from his horse. It is then that he encounters a poor village maiden (Sophia Loren) and a very complicated relationship ensues. A change of pace for the director Francesco Rosi (HANDS OVER THE CITY), there is much that is charming in this quirky adult fairy tale: flying monks, witches fighting over proper spells, a dish washing contest for Princesses etc. but the film needed a lighter touch which Rosi doesn't provide. Jacques Demy fared much better when he attempted a similar effort, PEAU D'ANE a few years later. But for what Rosi provides us with, it's quite watchable if lacking in genuine magic. Loren, as always, is a delightful comedienne and quite luscious. Sharif's Prince is a bit of a mean spirited jerk so one has to wonder what Loren's character would see in him, Prince or no Prince. Piero Piccioni's underscore, a personal favorite, is one of the best film scores I've ever heard. Also in the cast: Leslie French and Georges Wilson.

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