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Label:
Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT252-BR

THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA (1954) (SPECIAL PROMOTION) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Humphrey Bogart, Edmond O'Brien, Ava Gardner, Valentina Cortese, Rossano Brazzi, Marius Goring
Directed By:  Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Composed By:  Mario Nascimbene

“A heady Mankiewicz brew of Hollywood trash and wit.”
– Time Out London

“A caustic and cynical report on the glittering and graceless behavior of the Hollywood-international set. This vivid and withering illustration of a set and a general atmosphere is the chief fascination of this picture…sharp wit and surprise.”
– Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

Writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz gives us a bitter tale of stardom won and wasted in The Barefoot Contessa (1954), a film à clef about a Rita Hayworth-style Spanish dancer (Ava Gardner) who becomes an international movie star. Her sympathetic guide is a writer/director/ Mankiewicz surrogate (Humphrey Bogart); Edmond O’Brien won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar® playing the public relations lackey of a Howard Hughes-like mogul (Warren Stevens); and the film is stunningly photographed by the one and only Jack Cardiff (The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus).

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.78:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA / English 3.0 DTS-HD MA (Perspecta) / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1954 / Color
130 MINUTES
NOT RATED

Special Features: Isolated Score Track / Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and David Del Valle / Stills Gallery from the David Del Valle Archive / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on October 23, 2017 4:06 PM
I’ve long been a fan of Humphrey Bogart. Growing up in the sixties provided me with ample opportunity to see his films since back then VHS stations had classic films as their staple. Even with that being the case I didn’t have the chance to see them all or even most of them. Thank goodness for the invention of video and later disc. Because of that I now have the chance to see things I missed like this feature.

Opening with the funeral of a movie star the movie features Bogart as Harry Dawes, a down on his luck director who’s been teamed up with a producer new to the business, Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens). Kirk is a man with too much money and too little know how. To support him he has PR man Oscar Muldoon (Edmund O’Brien) on hand to kiss his ring and do as he’s told. It was a performance that won O’Brien an Oscar.

One night they come across a flamenco dancer named Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner) in a small club while scouting locations. Having caught his eye Kirk wants her for the movie even if she has no experience. Except that she speaks to no one.

Harry tracks her down to the small apartment where she lives with her family. There he convinces her to join the team and from there she achieves stardom. Maria and Harry remain friends but to Kirk she remains a possession. She leaves him to be with a wealthy South American named Alberto Bravano just to spite Kirk but eventually leaves him as well. It isn’t until she meets Count Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini (Rossano Brazzi) that she finds love but there is a secret there that remains hidden until her death.

All of this might seem like a spoiler but most going into the film know the story already. Even the blurbs on disc covers discuss most of it. It isn’t the beginning to end tale that is the main focus here but the way the story unspools that holds the viewer’s interest. Some have called the story weak and found it boring, others praise it for its simplicity and straightforward telling of the tale. As for myself I found it tedious at moments but entertaining on the whole.

Bogart isn’t used as much as I would have liked to have seen him, especially since he’s a name above the title here. One has to assume that was to create a draw for the film as he was still a box office presence at the time. Still his performance is a subtle one that displays his abilities quite well. Gardner is a sight to behold as well, showing she had more talent than given credit for over the years.

In the end it’s one of those movie that talks about the tragedies that befall those in the film business without trying to make it appeal for sympathy of those involved on the seedier side of things. It’s entertaining and a piece of film history to be enjoyed.

Twilight Time presents the film in the best way possible but what else would we expect? Extras include an isolated score track, audio commentary with film historians Julie Kirgo and David Del Valle, a stills gallery from the David Del Valle Archive and the original theatrical trailer. Once more pressings of this were limited to just 3,000 copies so if interested pick one up now.

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