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It Started In Naples

05 Oct

It Started In Naples – Directed by Melville Shavelson. Comedy Romance. A grumpy American lawyer comes to Italy to settle his deceased brother’s affairs and discovers he has a nephew with a nightclub-singer nanny. 103 minutes Color 1960.

* * * *

I had never been to Naples, but this film is not set in Naples, so the first whacky thing about it is its title. Instead it’s all set in Capri, which was just grand to see. (I have no idea how they managed to film all those crowd scenes; but, then, I never do.) At the center of the story is an American puritan played perfectly by an over-stuffed Clark Gable who is a very good actor and who comes on and delivers his lines like the lawyer he plays. Around him swirls a world of impetuous nonsense that really delighted me and that kept me in suspense awaiting the next surprise. Sophia Loren, as the boy’s aunt, tosses it around with a brio that is beyond confidence. Her smile is a panorama of Virgo glee. Of course, I knew how it would all turn out, and so will you, but what matter? Gable is still a mountain of masculinity and sexual assurance, and still willing to look the fool for love. Vittorio De Sica has a super bit as an Italian attorney/mountebank holding forth in court. The little boy is hot stuff as the urchin. From Hollywood comedies of this period one expects white bread slathered with margarine – but here not so. White bread, yes, but slathered with olive oil and diced mushrooms and tomatoes and olives and oregano and basil. Tangy! [ad#300×250]

 
 
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