15 March 2005 | bkoganbing
Rome, the eternal city of love
By the Fifties, the movie-going public was no longer satisfied with studio versions of far away places. They wanted to see the real thing and Hollywood had to give it to them. The year before Three Coins In a Fountain came out, Paramount had done another Rome based film in Roman Holiday. Though it had that winning romantic team of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, Paramount played it on the cheap and wouldn't splurge for color.
Not to be outdone by rivals, Darryl F. Zanuck went whole hog on terrific color cinematography and three romances. Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters, and Maggie McNamara are three Americans sharing an apartment in Rome. Peters and McNamara work for a U.S. government agency and McGuire is secretary to expatriate novelist Clifton Webb.
The fountain of course is Rome's famous Fountain of Trevi where tourists are lured into throwing their pennies with the promise of good fortune and a return to the eternal city. Frank Sinatra sings the title song over the opening credits and the Four Aces also had a mega-hit out of that tune. I remember as a lad in the Fifties, hearing that constantly on the radio. It was a BIG factor in the success of this film and won an Oscar for composer Jule Styne and lyricist Sammy Cahn.
McNamara and Peters fall for Prince Louis Jourdan and aspiring lawyer and co-worker Rossano Brazzi respectively. They play the continental lovers effortlessly.
20th Century Fox during the 50s toned down Clifton Webb's acerbity in order to make him leading man material. They never quite succeeded, but Dorothy McGuire conveys that she has a deep and abiding affection for Webb.
The usual romantic complications occur, but it all works out in the end as it always does in these films.
But the star is Rome and even seeing it 50 years ago, you'll still want to a pack a bag and see the place after watching this film.