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The Barefoot Contessa Review

Image for The Barefoot Contessa

Starting with a funeral this film tells, through the flashback perspective of three difference characters tells the story of the making of a movie and the rise of a young Spanish dancer. Harry Dawes think sthat his career as a film director are over until he is hired by Kirk Edwards to write and direct a film set in Rome. The two travel to Madrid where they find the beautiful flamenco dancer Maria Vargas as their star. In Rome, wealthy men fight for her love.

★★★★★

Having savaged the theatre in All About Eve, double Oscar-winning director Joseph L. Mankiewicz here pours his bile on the film industry through the story of a flamenco dancer Maria Vargas (Gardner) who rises from poverty to brief, tragic stardom. It all flashes back from a funeral through three different perspectives, as trench-coated director Bogart (who cops all the best cynical lines) and cynical press agent O'Brien (who copped a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) reminisce about the dead girl. Gardner is fiery fun and there's image-breaking sleaze from suave Rossano Brazzi as an impotent, homicidal Prince Charming.

Entertaining satire from a talented cast.