User Reviews (6)

Add a Review

  • Five years after making "Letter From An Unknown Woman", Louis Jourdan and Joan Fontaine appeared together again in this film based on three of the 100 stories making up Boccacio's classic collection "The Decameron". All three deal with lovers and their problems. With a good cast of actors (Geoffrey Terle - the spy master from Hitchcock's "The Thirty-Nine Steps", Joan Collins, and Binnie Barnes among them) it takes full advantage of the still existing Renaissance buildings and streets to be found in Italy. And as such it is a pleasant enough comedy. Interestingly enough, the beginning showing soldiers trudging in the Italian countryside, and describing warfare and plague, is certainly not building the right atmosphere for a merry movie - but it is in keeping with the actual start of the book. The ten people who are telling the stories (five men and five women) are fleeing the plague in a city and are in the countryside amusing themselves.

    Renaissance Italy has not been the subject of that many films in American and England. The Borgias are covered in "Prince of Foxes" and "Bride of Vengeance". Savanerola's attempt to reform Florence appears in the silent classic "Romola". Michaelangelo and Pope Julius II are dealt with in "The Agony and the Ecstasy". The German invasions of the 13th Century are covered in "The Flame and The Arrow". St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Innocent III are covered (sort of for the Pope) in "Brother Sun, Sister Moon". Those six films and this one seem to be it. No doubt more Italian made movies dealt with the figures of the Renaissance, but for some reason they never attracted American and English audiences. It seems to be our loss.
  • The pleasant, lighthearted love story was lots of fun--and the costuming was amazingly authentic. Many thoughtful touches, beautiful settings, historically correct outfits and accessories make this a lovely and visually appealing film--what a wonderful change of pace!
  • The main story, from a screen play by George Oppenheimer based on a Treatment by Geza Herczeg, combines bits of Giovanni Boccaccio's own life (maybe and maybe not)with three of his most fabulous stories of love. It has Boccaccio (Louis Jourdan) following Fiametta (Joan Fontaine) to a country villa where she and five other women---The Contessa (Binnie Barnes), Pampinea (Joan Collins) and three villa girls (Mara Lane, Stella Riley, and Melissa Stribling) are hiding following the rape of their home city, Florance, Italy, by the Duke of Lorenzo. The recently-widowed Fiametta spurns overtures of love offered by the philandering Boccaccio who, in an effort to win her, spins two of his stories:

    The first is "Paganino the Pirate", a spicy tale of a young wife, Bartolomea (Joan Fontaine)who, married to an elderly gent, Ricciardo (Godfrey Tearle), who prefers astrology to martial bliss, permits herself to be captured by a young pirate, Paganino (Louis Jourdan), to teach her husband a lesson. Binnie Barnes is the Countess of Florence and Elliott Makeham the Governor of Majorca in this segment.

    The second tale is "Wager on Virtue", concerning an elderly merchant, Bernado (Godfrey Tearle),who loses faith in his beautiful young wife, Ginevera (Joan Fontaine), on the strength of circumstantial evidence present him by a daring young rogue, Guilio (Louis Jourdan), who has previously goaded him into a bet on his wife's virtue, or lack thereof. The characters in this segment include Nerina (Binnie Barnes), The Sultan (Meinhart Maur), the Merchant Captain (Van Boolen), a Merchant in French Inn (Gordon Bell) and George and Bert Bernard as messengers.

    The third story, told by Fiametta, is "The Doctor's Daughter," concerning a delicate matter of matrimony when a wife, Isabella (Joan Fontaine), finds herself spurned by the man, Bertrando (Louis Jourdan), who has wed her at the command of his King (Hugh Morton.) Characters include Maria (Joan Collins), The Old Witch (Binnie Barnes), Father Francaisco (Noel Purcell) and Signora Bucca (Marjorie Rhodes.)

    The three stories bring the main story back to a happy and logical conclusion.
  • "Decameron Nights" is a fun movie to watch about a mismatched couple (Joan Fontaine and Louis Jourdan) from Italy in the 14th century. This is their second movie together. The first movie was "A Letter from a Unknown Woman", which was a superb and sad romantic movie.

    "Decameron Nights" is just the opposite - it's a romantic romp with humor. There are three stories about the couple and the audience is made to guess which story is true about how they met. Both Ms. Fontaine and Mr. Jourdan made few comedies. This is their best. Both serious actors are funny. It is fun to see a young Joan Collins in a supporting role. Binnie Barnes and Godfrey Tearle are a superb supporting cast. Ms. Barnes was given a rare chance to shine in a movie.
  • It was about 20 years before Pier Paolo Pasolini,whose version(1971) of Boccacio's work was much more daring,more erotic and bawdier;but it was 1953 and the censorship would not have tolerated such things.

    Let's say it: Fregonese's Decameron is at least as good,as entertaining ,nay more elegant and subtler than that of his Italian colleague.Everything is suggested ,full of (more or less)veiled innuendos and it works quite well:three segments based on three tales told by the writer or Flamette;and what a good idea to have the actors play the "real" plot and the fictions !Joan Fontaine ,for instance ,is cast against type as a ship's boy and later an oriental one ,complete with turban and she manages quite well ,in this Virginia Mayo style.French Louis Jourdan ,who is still living ,is ideally cast as the handsome lady killer:and what a pleasure to hear him say in his first language "Bon Voyage" or "rendezvous"!;the cinematography is splendid and the screenplay is remarkably constructed.
  • Joan Fontaine reunites with her leading man from Letters From An Unknown Woman Louis Jourdan to present three tales from Giovanni Bocaccio in Decameron Nights. Bocaccio a most cynical fellow shares with the Countess Fiametta his rather cynical outlook on life and love. In many ways he and Don Juan have very similar views.

    In the framework of the film three of the almost 100 stories Bocaccio wrote are shared in the film with the leads playing the male and female protagonists. Personally I like the first one best where Jourdan makes good on his boast to have supper in the bedroom of Geoffrey Tearle's wife, much younger than him and played by Joan Collins. Who wouldn't risk life and limb for that?

    In years past Errol Flynn would have done justice to the part as would have others like Louis Hayward, Tyrone Power, and Douglas Fairbanks,Jr. Jourdan does more than very good with it and Fontaine finds the right note to use her beauty with a bit I've been around this track before wisdom.

    Decameron Nights was shot in Italy, the better to take advantage of the scenery already in place and medieval Italy in technicolor looks ravishing. Fontaine was on that side of the pond doing both Ivanhoe and an unbilled part in Orson Welles's Othello.

    Fans of both stars and Joan Collins will approve.