Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 3rd, 2004
This is the tale of three young American women in Rome, and the men who romance them.The recently arrived Maggie McNamara sets her cap for aristocrat-with-a-reputation LouisJourdan. Jean Peters, who is supposed to be heading back to the States soon, is drawn againsther better judgment into a relationship with kindly translator Rossano Brazzi (they work at thesame office, and the rules are strict about such things). And Dorothy McGuire is secretary toprickly writer Clifton W…bb.
There aren’t any real surprises to this anodyne tale, and how could there be, when so muchof the running time is spent showing us the beauties of Rome. Four or five minutes of puretravelogue footage unspool before the opening credits even begin. The pictorial beauty was a bigdraw in 1954, but time has not been very kind to the film, and it comes across as very blandtoday.
The commentary informs us that the film was an early stereo effort. Nonetheless, a monoversion of the track is provided, along with a 4.0 mix. The latter is clean-sounding, especiallyfor a fifty-year-old film, but the surround elements are few and far between. The dialogue soundsoddly detached from the rest of the audio, with exaggerated left-right separation.
This is also an early CinemaScope feature, and the 2.55:1 ratio is respected here. The picturehas been very nicely restored. The colours are brilliant, and the print is in excellent shape, withno speckling, damage or grain. Edge enhancement isn’t a problem either. The image is sharp,and yet there does seem to be a slight mistiness in the upper portion of the frame at times.
Film historian Jeanine Basinger takes charge of the commentary. Her discussion is scenespecific, and provides vast amounts of background information, but is also a bit dry, and she isexcessively diplomatic about pointing out the movie’s travelogue characteristics. The otherextras are pretty standard for a relatively minor Studio Classics release: the Movietone Newsreelof the film winning its Oscars, a restoration comparison, the teaser, two theatrical trailers, andtrailers for four other Studio Classics. The menu is basic.
All very pretty, and a perfectly pleasant film, but it isn’t a particularly compelling romance,either.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Restoration Comparison
- Movietone Newsreel
- Theatrical Trailers and Teaser
- Bonus Trailers