7 September 2005 | bkoganbing
Mario's Roman travelogue
After a whole lot of incidents and the accompanying bad publicity, Mario Lanza took his family to live in Rome and became one of a growing group of expatriate American stars living in Europe. His last two films for MGM were shot in Italy.
The real star of Seven Hills of Rome is the eternal city itself. Rome was really popular in the Fifties. Paramount did Roman Holiday and then 20th Century Fox followed with Three Coins in the Fountain both beautifully photographed. And now the best photographed of all is this one.
It's almost a shame that a movie plot had to interfere with the promotional travel film. But Mario is an American singer, a whole lot like the real Mario Lanza, hovering between the classical and pop worlds. A spat with girl friend Peggie Castle sends him to Europe and Rome chasing her. He has a cousin there played by Italian performer Renato Rascel who puts him up.
And he meets a girl, Marisa Allascio on the train to Rome who's stranded in Rome so he and cousin Renato take her in. The inevitable happens of course.
Renato Rascel had a nice comic style and was a good performer. He reminds me a lot of Joe Pesci. Too bad he never broke into the American market. Kind of like the French comedian Fernandel that way.
Back in the day, the song Arrivederci Roma was played EVERYWHERE, you couldn't get away from it. It's the biggest song that came out of Seven Hills of Rome. A whole lot of American singers back then recorded this one. I have versions of Dean Martin, Vic Damone, and Jerry Vale doing it. But Mario's all Italian version is the best and he's joined on screen by a young female street singer in an affecting duet.
Nothing pretentious about Seven Hills of Rome. Good for a nice enjoyable afternoon. Fans of the eternal city will love it.