The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

“Life, every now and then, behaves as though it had seen too many bad movies, when everything fits too well – the beginning, the middle, the end – from fade-in to fade-out.” – Harry

Number of Times Seen – 1 (1 Jan 2019)

Brief Synopsis – At the funeral of a famous actress, several of the men who discovered her talent recall how she got her fame.

My Take on it – This is another film that I knew absolutely nothing about before watching it and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz was always known as being a great writer/director and this film is further proof of that.

He is able to put together the perspectives of 3 very different individuals on the rise and fall of a famous actress that they discovered and we get to see the story from each of their varied viewpoints of what makes someone famous and popular.

The cast of this film is superb and each of them are able to portray their Hollywood persona/counterpart quite well that it feels stereotypical yet unique at the same time.

Humphrey Bogart is great in the lead and he is able to carry the story throughout.

He is outshines throughout tho by the performances of Ava Gardner and Edmond O’Brien whenever they appear on screen with him.

Mankiewicz chooses to not show Hollywood elite ion a flattering way yet that actually helps make the story feel even more realistic in what it’s trying to prove.

The story is told really well in flashback especially as it slowly begins to show us everything that transpires and keeps us understanding why things play out as they do.

Bottom Line – Great film by Mankiewicz that is able to put together perspectives of 3 different men on the rise and fall of an actress who they discovered. The cast is superb and each of the main characters do a wonderful job fleshing out their profession as a moviemaker. Bogart is great in the lead, but he is outshown by both Gardner and O’Brien whenever they are on screen with him. The perspective shown here on Hollywood elites isn’t always a flattering one, but that helps make the story feel even more realistic. Love the way the story is told in flashback as it slowly lets us understand everything that transpired. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The character of Maria Vargas is said to be based on Rita Hayworth, who was actually offered the part. Hayworth was a Latina who later married a prince, Prince Aly Khan. However, some elements were taken from Ava Gardner’s life as well. The stormy relationship between Maria and tycoon movie producer Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens) is based on Gardner’s own relationship with billionaire film producer Howard Hughes. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)


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5 thoughts on “The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

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