Hollywood on the Tiber

Hollywood on the Tiber is a phrase used to describe the period in the 1950s and 1960s when the Italian capital of Rome emerged as a major location for international filmmaking attracting a large number of foreign productions to the Cinecittà studios. By contrast to the native Italian film industry, these movies were made in English for global release. Although the primary markets for such films were American and British audiences, they enjoyed widespread popularity in other countries, including Italy.

The commercial success of Quo Vadis (1951) led to a stream of blockbusters produced in Italy by Hollywood studios, which reached its height with 20th Century Fox's Cleopatra in 1963. The phrase "Hollywood on Tiber", a reference to the river that runs through Rome, was coined in 1950 by Time Magazine during the making of Quo Vadis.[1]

Cinecittà - Entrance
The Italian studio complex Cinecittà where the films were made.

Background

Following World War II, Hollywood studios increasingly shifted production abroad both to take advantage of lower costs and to use frozen funds (profits from American films which foreign governments barred from export). These films, known as runaway productions, could also benefit from local subsidies. By the early 1950s, some of the largest-budget American films were being shot in European countries, particularly in Britain and Italy.[2] In both countries newly arrived American companies worked alongside continuing large-scale domestic film industries.

In Italy, the film-makers used the vast Cinecittà complex which had been built in the 1930s by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime which was aiming to rebuild Italian cinema. Following Mussolini's overthrow in 1943, production at Cinecittà was suspended and no new films were made until 1948.[3]

Height

0 Tibre - Pont Vittorio Emanuele II - San Spirito in Sassia - St-Pierre (Vatican)
The expression refers to the Tiber which runs through Rome.

Although American companies had shot in Italy before (such as Fox's 1922 silent Nero and MGM's 1925 Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ), the scale of the post-war investment was unprecedented. Many of the films were sword and sandal epics, often set in Ancient Rome which required large film sets and location filming. Other films included contemporary-set romances Roman Holiday (1953) and Three Coins in the Fountain (1954).[4] The companies imported actors from a variety of countries (particularly Britain and the United States), who appeared alongside Italians who generally played smaller, supporting roles or extras. Sophia Loren was a notable Italian star with sufficient international appeal to be cast in a leading role.

In 1962, the lengthy and troubled production of Cleopatra brought further media attention to the city. The delays led to a spiraling budget, making it the most expensive film ever made at the time.[5]

Far from leading to a decline in Italian cinema, the native industry boomed during the era. In 1960, Italian films outperformed American imports to Italy for the first time since 1946.[6] However, there was a growing influence of Hollywood-style productions, as popular Italian genres such as the Sword-and-sandal and Spaghetti Western attempted to imitate successful Hollywood productions. Italian actors and directors often adopted English-sounding names.[7]

Later years

Cinecittà was at the peak of its international fame between the production of Ben Hur and Cleopatra (1958-1960).[8] As the 1960s drew on, the fashion for classical epics began to decline following the commercial failure of The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), although films in other genres such as David Lean's Doctor Zhivago (1965) continued to be profitable.

In 2009 a documentary film Hollywood on the Tiber was released. It portrays Cinecittà and the various stars who worked there between 1950 and 1970.

Selected filmography

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday trailer 2
Trailer of the famous "Roman Holiday" film with Gregory Peck and Audrey Heburn

References

  1. ^ Wrigley p.52
  2. ^ Balio p.228
  3. ^ Gundle p.261
  4. ^ Balio p.228
  5. ^ Bondanella p.161
  6. ^ McElhaney p.146
  7. ^ Bondanella p.339
  8. ^ Torriglia p.60

Bibliography

  • Balio, Tino. The Foreign Film Renaissance on American Screens, 1946–1973. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 5 Nov 2010.
  • Bondanella, Peter. A History of Italian Cinema. Continuum, 2009.
  • Gundle, Stephen. Mussolini's Dream Factory: Film Stardom in Fascist Italy. Berghahn Books, 2013.
  • McElhaney, Joe. The Death of Classical Cinema: Hitchcock, Lang, Minnelli. SUNY Press, 2012.
  • Torriglia, Anna Maria. Broken Time, Fragmented Space: A Cultural Map for Postwar Italy. University of Toronto Press, 2002.
  • Wrigley, Richard (ed.) Cinematic Rome. Troubador Publishing, 2008.
66th Venice International Film Festival

The 66th annual Venice International Film Festival, held in Venice, Italy, was held from 2 to 12 September 2009, with Maria Grazia Cucinotta serving as the festival's hostess. The opening film of the festival was Baarìa by Giuseppe Tornatore and the closing film was Chengdu, I Love You by Fruit Chan and Cui Jian. The international competition jury, chaired by Ang Lee, awarded the Golden Lion to Lebanon by Samuel Maoz.

Acid Western

Acid Western is a subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s that combines the metaphorical ambitions of critically acclaimed Westerns, such as Shane and The Searchers, with the excesses of the Spaghetti Westerns and the outlook of the counterculture of the 1960s. Acid Westerns subvert many of the conventions of earlier Westerns to "conjure up a crazed version of autodestructive white America at its most solipsistic, hankering after its own lost origins".

Bulgari

Bulgari (, Italian: [ˈbulɡari]; stylized as BVLGARI) is an Italian luxury brand known for its jewellery, watches, fragrances, accessories and leather goods.

While the majority of design, production and marketing is overseen and executed by Bulgari, the company does, at times, partner with other entities. For example, Bulgari eyewear is produced through a licensing agreement with Luxottica, and Bulgari formed a joint venture with Marriott International in 2001 to launch its hotel brand, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, a collection of properties and resort destinations around the world.

Currently part of the LVMH Group, Bulgari was founded in Bulgaria in 1884 by the silversmith Sotirios Voulgaris (Italian: Sotirio Bulgari) as a single jewellery shop that has, over the years, become an international brand. The company has evolved into a player in the luxury market, with an established and growing network of stores.

Cinecittà

Cinecittà Studios (pronounced [ˌtʃinetʃitˈta]; Italian for Cinema City Studios), is a large film studio in Rome, Italy. With an area of 400,000 square metres (99 acres), it is the largest film studio in Europe, and is considered the hub of Italian cinema. The studios were constructed during the Fascist era as part of a plan to revive the Italian film industry.Filmmakers such as Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Sergio Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Mel Gibson have worked at Cinecittà. More than 3,000 movies have been filmed there, of which 90 received an Academy Award nomination and 47 of these won it. In the 1950s, the number of international productions being made there led to Rome being dubbed "Hollywood on the Tiber."

Cinema of Italy

The Cinema of Italy comprises the films made within Italy or by Italian directors. The first Italian director is considered to be Vittorio Calcina, a collaborator of the Lumière Brothers, who filmed Pope Leo XIII in 1896. Since its beginning, Italian cinema has influenced film movements worldwide. As of 2018, Italian films have won 14 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film (the most of any country) as well as 12 Palmes d'Or (the second-most of any country), one Academy Award for Best Picture and many Golden Lions and Golden Bears.

Italy is the birthplace of Art Cinema and the stylistic aspect of film has been the most important factor in the history of Italian movies. In the early 1900s, artistic and epic films such as Otello (1906), The Last Days of Pompeii (1908), L'Inferno (1911), Quo Vadis (1913), and Cabiria (1914), were made as adaptations of books or stage plays. Italian filmmakers were utilizing complex set designs, lavish costumes, and record budgets, to produce pioneering films. One of the first cinematic avante-garde movements, Italian Futurism, took place in Italy in the late 1910s. After a period of decline in the 1920s, the Italian film industry was revitalized in the 1930s with the arrival of sound film. A popular Italian genre during this period, the Telefoni Bianchi, consisted of comedies with glamorous backgrounds.While Italy's Fascist government provided financial support for the nation's film industry, most notably the construction of the Cinecittà studios (the largest film studio in Europe), it also engaged in censorship, and thus many Italian films produced in the late 1930s were propaganda films. Post-World War II Italy saw the rise of the influential Italian neorealist movement, which launched the directorial careers of Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini, and Vittorio De Sica. Neorealism declined in the late 1950s in favor of lighter films, such as those of the Commedia all'italiana genre and important directors like Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni. Actresses such as Sophia Loren, Giulietta Masina and Gina Lollobrigida achieved international stardom during this period.The Spaghetti Western achieved popularity in the mid-1960s, peaking with Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy, which featured enigmatic scores by composer Ennio Morricone. Erotic Italian thrillers, or giallos, produced by directors such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento in the 1970s, influenced the horror genre worldwide. During the 1980s and 1990s, directors such as Ermanno Olmi, Bernardo Bertolucci, Giuseppe Tornatore, Gabriele Salvatores and Roberto Benigni brought critical acclaim back to Italian cinema.The country is also famed for its prestigious Venice Film Festival, the oldest film festival in the world, held annually since 1932 and awarding the Golden Lion. In 2008 the Venice Days ("Giornate degli Autori"), a section held in parallel to the Venice Film Festival, has produced in collaboration with Cinecittà studios and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage a list of 100 films that have changed the collective memory of the country between 1942 and 1978, the "100 Italian films to be saved".

Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini, (Italian: [fedeˈriːko felˈliːni]; 20 January 1920 – 31 October 1993) was an Italian film director and screenwriter. Known for his distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images with earthiness, he is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. His films have ranked, in polls such as Cahiers du cinéma and Sight & Sound, as some of the greatest films of all time. Sight & Sound lists his 1963 film 8½ as the 10th-greatest film of all time.

In a career spanning almost fifty years, Fellini won the Palme d'Or for La Dolce Vita, was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, and won four in the category of Best Foreign Language Film, the most for any director in the history of the Academy. At the 65th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, he received an honorary award for Lifetime Achievement. Besides La Dolce Vita and 8½, his other well-known films include La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, Juliet of the Spirits, Satyricon, Amarcord and Fellini's Casanova.

Italy

Italy (Italian: Italia [iˈtaːlja] (listen)), officially the Italian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Italiana [reˈpubblika itaˈljaːna]), is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Italian Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal climate. The country covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most predominant being the Indo-European Italic peoples who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia of southern Italy, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively. The Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People. The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, and the Republic eventually expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural, political and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy, art and literature flourished. Italy remained the homeland of the Romans and the metropole of the Roman Empire. The legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, law, governments, Christianity and the Latin script.

During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics, mainly in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping, commerce and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism. These mostly independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East, often enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe; however, part of central Italy was under the control of the theocratic Papal States, while Southern Italy remained largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Angevin, Aragonese and other foreign conquests of the region.The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars, artists and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Galileo and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, and it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France, Spain and Austria.

By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was almost entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy rapidly industrialised, namely in the north, and acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil (e.g. the anni di piombo, the Maxi Trial, and mani pulite) became a highly advanced country.Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve. It has a very high level of human development, and it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military, cultural and diplomatic affairs; it is both a regional power and a great power, and is ranked the world's eighth most-powerful military. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more.

Known for its rich cultural history, Italy has been continuously the birthplace of influential and successful artists, writers, philosophers, musicians, film-makers, sportspeople, scientists, engineers, and inventors. As a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to 54 World Heritage Sites, the most in the world, and is the fifth-most visited country.

List of apocalyptic films

This is a list of apocalyptic feature-length films. All films within this list feature either the end of the world, a prelude to such an end (such as a world taken over by a viral infection), and/or a post-apocalyptic setting.

Meat pie Western

Meat pie Western, also known as Australian Western or kangaroo Western, is a broad genre of Western-style films or TV series set in the Australian outback or "the bush". Films about bushrangers (sometimes called bushranger films) are included in this genre. Some films categorised as meat-pie or Australian Westerns also fulfil the criteria for other genres, such as drama, revisionist Western, crime or thriller.

The term "meat pie Western" is a play on the term Spaghetti Western, used for Italian-made Westerns, relating in both cases to foods are regarded as national dishes.

Opera film

An opera film is a recording of an opera on film.

Pivio and Aldo De Scalzi

Pivio (born 7 June 1958 in Genova, Italy) and Aldo De Scalzi (born 23 January 1957 in Genova, Italy) are two Italian composers, best known for scoring music for television and motion pictures.

They are not siblings: Pivio is a pseudonym for Roberto Pischiutta, while Aldo De Scalzi is Vittorio De Scalzi's brother, founding member of New Trolls, an Italian progressive rock band. Aldo himself has written and composed many songs for New Trolls, including "Faccia di Cane", in competition at the popular Italian song contest Sanremo Music Festival in 1985.

Moreover, in 1973 Aldo and Vittorio De Scalzi started together their own music studio, Studio G. and the record labels Magma and Grog Records, renowned for having hosted, during the 70s, the most talented bands from progressive rock Italian movement (New Trolls, Picchio dal Pozzo, Alphataurus, Pholas Dactilus, Latte e miele, Mandillo, Celeste, Sigillo di Horus). From 1976 on, Aldo starts playing with the progressive rock band Picchio dal Pozzo.

Meanwhile, in 1979 Pivio founded along with Marco Odino, the new wave band Scortilla, famous for the hit "Fahrenheit 451", in competition at the Italian music contest Festivalbar, in 1984 edition. Graduated with a degree in Electronic Engineering at Genova University, Pivio moved in Rome in the late 1980s. Pivio and Aldo De Scalzi started their collaboration during the 90s and throughout their career, have been in soundtrack work for various motion pictures, starting with Hamam (Il bagno Turco) directed by Ferzan Özpetek in 1997.

Moreover, in 1995 Pivio and Aldo De Scalzi started the side project Trancendental, developing their interest in Mediterranean world music, crossing Maghreb and Middle East musical traditions and in 2004 started the record label I dischi dell'espleta and the publishing company Creuza S.r.l.

Quo Vadis (1951 film)

Quo Vadis (Latin for "Where are you going?") is a 1951 American epic film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Technicolor. It was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and produced by Sam Zimbalist, from a screenplay by John Lee Mahin, S.N. Behrman and Sonya Levien, adapted from the novel Quo Vadis (1896) by the Polish Nobel Laureate author Henryk Sienkiewicz. The score is by Miklós Rózsa and the cinematography by Robert Surtees and William V. Skall. The title refers to an incident in the apocryphal Acts of Peter.The film starred Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn, and Peter Ustinov, and featured Patricia Laffan, Finlay Currie, Abraham Sofaer, Marina Berti, Buddy Baer and Felix Aylmer. Anthony Mann worked on the film for four weeks as an uncredited second-unit director. Sergio Leone was an uncredited assistant director of Italian extras. Future Italian stars Sophia Loren and Bud Spencer appeared as uncredited extras. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards (though it won none), and it was such a huge box-office success that it was credited with single-handedly rescuing M-G-M from the brink of bankruptcy.

Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday is a 1953 American romantic comedy film directed and produced by William Wyler. It stars Gregory Peck as a reporter and Audrey Hepburn as a royal princess out to see Rome on her own. Hepburn won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance; the screenplay and costume design also won.

It was written by John Dighton and Dalton Trumbo, though with Trumbo on the Hollywood blacklist, he did not receive a credit; instead, Ian McLellan Hunter fronted for him. Trumbo's credit was reinstated when the film was released on DVD in 2003. On December 19, 2011, full credit for Trumbo's work was restored. Blacklisted director Bernard Vorhaus worked on the film as an assistant director under a pseudonym.It was shot at the Cinecittà studios and on location around Rome during the "Hollywood on the Tiber" era. The film was screened in the 14th Venice film festival within the official program.

In 1999, Roman Holiday was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Romanian New Wave

The Romanian New Wave (Romanian: Noul val românesc) is a genre of realist and often minimalist films made in Romania since the mid-aughts, starting with two award-winning shorts by two Romanian directors, namely Cristi Puiu's Cigarettes and Coffee, which won the Short Film Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival, and Cătălin Mitulescu's Trafic, which won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival later that same year.

Silent film

A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound (and in particular, no audible dialogue). In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system. The term "silent film" is a misnomer, as these films were almost always accompanied by live sounds During the silent-film era that existed from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, a pianist, theater organist—or even, in large cities, a small orchestra—would often play music to accompany the films. Pianists and organists would play either from sheet music, or improvisation. Sometimes a person would even narrate the intertitle cards for the audience. Though at the time the technology to synchronize sound with the video did not exist, music was seen as an essential part of the viewing experience.

The term silent film is a retronym—a term created to retroactively distinguish something. Early sound films, starting with The Jazz Singer in 1927, were variously referred to as the "talkies," "sound films," or "talking pictures." Within a decade, the widespread production of silent films for popular entertainment had ceased, and the industry had moved fully into the sound era, in which movies were accompanied by synchronized sound recordings of spoken dialogue, music and sound effects.

Most early motion pictures are considered lost because the nitrate film used in that era was extremely unstable and flammable. Additionally, many films were deliberately destroyed because they had little value in the era before home video. It has often been claimed that around 75 percent of silent films have been lost, though these estimates may be inaccurate due to a lack of numerical data.

The Barefoot Contessa

The Barefoot Contessa is a 1954 drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz about the life and loves of fictional Spanish sex symbol Maria Vargas. It stars Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, and Edmond O'Brien.

For his performance, O'Brien won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the corresponding Golden Globe. Mankiewicz was nominated for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay.

Three Coins in the Fountain (film)

Three Coins in the Fountain is a 1954 American romantic comedy film directed by Jean Negulesco and starring Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters, Louis Jourdan, Rossano Brazzi, and Maggie McNamara. Written by John Patrick, the film is about three American women working in Rome who dream of finding romance in the Eternal City.The film's main title song "Three Coins in the Fountain" (sung by an uncredited Frank Sinatra) went on to become an enduring standard. The story was adapted by John Patrick from the novel Coins in the Fountain by John H. Secondari. It was made in Italy during the "Hollywood on the Tiber" era.

At the 27th Academy Awards in 1955, the film received two Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Song, and was nominated for Best Picture.

Tiber

The Tiber (; Latin: Tiberis; Italian: Tevere [ˈteːvere]) is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 kilometres (252 mi) through Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio, where it is joined by the river Aniene, to the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Ostia and Fiumicino. It drains a basin estimated at 17,375 square kilometres (6,709 sq mi). The river has achieved lasting fame as the main watercourse of the city of Rome, founded on its eastern banks.

The river rises at Mount Fumaiolo in central Italy and flows in a generally southerly direction past Perugia and Rome to meet the sea at Ostia. Popularly called flavus ("the blond"), in reference to the yellowish colour of its water, the Tiber has heavily advanced at the mouth by about 3 kilometres (2 miles) since Roman times, leaving the ancient port of Ostia Antica 6 kilometres (4 miles) inland. However, it does not form a proportional delta, owing to a strong north-flowing sea current close to the shore, to the steep shelving of the coast, and to slow tectonic subsidence.

Two Weeks in Another Town

Two Weeks in Another Town is a 1962 American drama film directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson, Cyd Charisse, Claire Trevor, Daliah Lavi, George Hamilton, and Rosanna Schiaffino. It was based on a novel by Irwin Shaw.

The film depicts the shooting of a romantic costume drama in Rome by a team of decadent Hollywood stars, during the Hollywood on the Tiber era. It contains several references to a previous successful Minnelli movie, The Bad and the Beautiful, also starring Douglas.

The story was seen by some as a reelaboration of the past relationship between actors Tyrone Power and Linda Christian and producer Darryl Zanuck.

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