The Barefoot Contessa View large image

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Film Details

Directed by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Produced: 1954

Countries & Regions: United States

DVD Details

Certificate: PG

Length: 125 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 15 April 2002

Cat No: 16107DVD

Extras:
DVD 9
Languages(s): English, French, German, Spanish
Hard of Hearing Subtitles: English
Subtitles: French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Interactive Menu
Scene Access
Screen ratio 1:1.33
Dolby Mono

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The Barefoot Contessa

Cast: Ava Gardner , Humphrey Bogart , Valentina Cortese , Elizabeth Sellars , Rossano Brazzi , Marius Goring , Mari Aldon , Franco Interlenghi , Warren Stevens , Alberto Rabagliati

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The beautiful Hollywood film star Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner) is shot dead by her aristocratic husband. At her funeral the men who knew... Read More

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The beautiful Hollywood film star Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner) is shot dead by her aristocratic husband. At her funeral the men who knew her recount, in flashback, her rise from nightclub dancer to countess, telling of her fierce independence, and slowly revealing the events which lead up to her death. Although strenuously denied by writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (’All About Eve’, ’Cleopatra’), it has often been rumoured that the characters in the film were based on real people such as Rita Hayworth, Howard Hawks and King Farouk.

Starting with a rain-drenched funeral, this moves into flashback with the torrid and scandalous tale of a movie beauty queen told from three differing perspectives by those who knew and discovered her. Mankiewicz's customarily sharp script oozes high-voltage dialogue, whilst Jack Cardiff's superb cinematography lends visual distinction to this witty expose of Hollywood morals, with barely disguised caricatures of big shot producers (read Howard Hughes) and the central character of the Contessa herself (Ava Gardner at her most breathlessly seductive) somewhat reminiscent of a certain Rita Hayworth. Bogart too is a standout, at his brilliant crumpled best as an alcoholic writer-director. Top notch Hollywood cynicism. CJ.

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