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  • Hermit C-29 September 1999
    Chemistry can be a funny thing. This movie stars two charismatic legends of the cinema, Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers. Its script, on the surface, is intelligent and well-written, full of snappy dialog. (It's based on a play by G.B. Shaw.) They combine to make a relentlessly dull movie. Loren is a rich heiress who for some reason has to marry again to satisfy conditions of her father's will and Sellers plays an altruistic Indian doctor in London, where the movie is set, with whom she has an uninteresting love/hate relationship. I found it all but impossible to keep my attention focused on the screen as the film worked its way toward its conclusion. It made for one of the longest 90-minute movies I've ever seen.

    Part of the problem I think is that characters here are not developed, they just burst out in full force the moment you see them, making a viewer feel like he or she has started watching in the middle of the film. Also, as a romance, the movie is completely flat, with zero chemistry between the leads. It's no wonder you don't hear much about this film from fans of Loren or Sellers, or Shaw for that matter.
  • oliver-1231 November 2007
    I never saw this when it first came out, though I remember the song that went with it (but does not feature in it), and only caught up with it when the Times gave away free DVDs with its Saturday edition recently. I agree entirely with other criticisms; too little happens, the dialogue doesn't flow naturally, some of the acting is wooden and there are pointless cameos (e.g. by Alfie Bass) and weak attempts at slapstick (various persons ending up in the Thames). The setting seems to be modern, i.e. 1950s, but the East Enders the Indian doctor treats belong to an older time, the time of Shaw's own play, except that some are Indian or similar. Part of the problem seems to be the placing of some of Shaw's epigrammatic dialogue in a weaker and rather inappropriate framework; the millionairess is much more ruthless and unpleasant in the play, as I remember it. Sophia Loren is a pleasure to watch, and there seems to be genuine chemistry between her and Peter Sellers (as I believe was reported off-set), but they cannot save this, and good actors like Alastair Sim and Dennis Price are wasted.
  • Amazing that nobody commented on Sophia guepiere and garter belt!

    O.K. Guys. The movie is somewhat dull and you may be sure that neither Sophia Loren or Peter Sellers could have been nominated for Oscar on this performance. But, does anybody remember the scene when Sophia undresses in Peter,s doctor cabinet and shows herself in a black guepiere , black stockings and garter belt? If you have forgotten this, you are only forgiven if you are younger than two years or older than ninety-nine And , moreover, we were back in 1960, when such scenes in movies, particularly in my native Italy, were not frequent! For the remaining part, I must agree that the story is weak, the other actors ( including an improbable Vittorio De Sica) are unnoticeable, and Sophia as a millionaire is less credible than as a Naples Pizza seller!
  • The Millionairess reminds me of why people will sit through generally stale movies sometimes instead of just packing it in, the odd glitter or chemistry between two major movie stars who one does not often get to see together. This is a flat uncompelling piece of work about a newly minted heiress (Sophia Loren) who can't find the right man to marry and a devoted Indian physician (Peter Sellers) who has no interest in money- or women.

    Sellers performance is about the only thing that takes this picture above banality; he has so much integrity as an actor that he raises the level of the mostly shoddy material. He has some truly wonderful, charming moments as the doctor who resists the stunning Loren at every turn (the same could not be said off-camera; Sellers wrecked his first marriage over the obsession). Loren, is a good, but not great actress; her appeal lies heavily in her charm and good humor. Here, those qualities are muted by the character she plays: a self-obsessed bombshell who has no real love to give- only money- and doesn't understand why a man of true integrity won't respond to that. But what's wrong with the screenplay is fairly obvious. In the typical Hate At First Sight movie romance, the characters learn and grow to see the virtue of the each other's worth, then fall in love. Here, they don't. Sellers character gives no indication of wearing down, Loren's never stops being exasperating (in one scene, she fakes an illness at 4:30 AM so Sellers will come over to examine her). When they hook up at the end, it's totally implausible and not very satisfying (she fakes committing suicide to draw him to her).

    That said, the movie is not quite boring, the audience may be drawn to the radiance of the stars in spite of itself, but it has no real spark and no drive. The look of it is quite nice, it's expensive without being gaudy. But it doesn't serve the actors very well; even the great Alastair Sim isn't well-used. I suspect watching The Millionairess is something like being super-rich, one gets the feeling of having too much time to kill. 2** out of 4
  • Sophia Loren is "The Millionairess" in this 1960 film also starring Peter Sellars, with director Vittorio de Sica playing a small role. The film is adapted from a play by George Bernard Shaw. I seem to remember that Garson Kanin and Katharine Hepburn had planned to do this play as a movie, but it never happened. I can't imagine why they wanted to do it, and I frankly don't know if their version would have been much better. At least in this production we got to look at Sophia and her exquisite wardrobe.

    Loren plays an Italian heiress who falls for an Indian doctor (Sellars) devoted to helping the poor. She is determined to get him, even building a huge hospital for him, but nothing seems to work. Her father stipulated that if she married, she must give her husband-to-be 500 pounds, and within three months, he must have made it into 15,000 pounds. It turns out that Sellars' mother had a similar rule for a proposed wife - she must go out into the world with 35 shillings and the clothes on her back and make a living. Loren takes the bet and hands Sellars 500 pounds. She walks into a pasta-making sweatshop, cuts out the middleman, brings in modern equipment, lets the workers unionize, and makes a fortune for the owners and herself. The Sellars character leaves the money he was given on his reception desk, but no one takes any.

    There is absolutely no action and no pacing in this film, and it fails to hold interest except when Sophia shows up in a new outfit. It's obvious that it's a play, and it would have to move a lot faster in order for it to have even a chance at working. Sophia is definitely one of the wonders of the world, and in 1960, she was on top of it, an absolute goddess with a voluptuous body, the kind never seen today. She's beautifully dressed by Pierre Balman. Sellars is excellent as always, but this would be at the bottom of the list as far as his early films.

    Dull.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    You cannot hit the target perfectly every time, and this is true of dramatist as the rest of us.

    George Bernard Shaw gave us MAJOR BARBARA, PYGMALION, ST. JOAN,HEARTBREAK HOUSE, MAN AND SUPERMAN, ... but he could do mediocre work. I think he had become a bit of an old fogy. His mind had gotten set into certain thought patterns that he would not give up. Whether this was due to disenchantment in the failure of the political Labor Party movement to improve England I can only leave to his biographers to fight out.

    He retreated into a fantasy world. It sometimes succeeds with flashes of his wit but for the most part he falls on his face. In this period Shaw demonstrated a remarkable belief in "strongmen". He looked at those dynamic dictators abroad in Russia, Italy, and Germany, and the result was GENEVA (1935) a play that is rarely considered for revival today - the audience might riot at it's apologia for Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler. Shaw felt that one could not look at these men and their actions without seeing the total aim that they were pushing. The problem with Shaw's vision was he was buying their aims for efficiency and for better economic standards for the bulk of their peoples. Certainly they were dynamic but Shaw ignored huge political crimes.

    He had always favored the work of a great person who cut to the chase ignoring the damage left and right. Undershaft in MAJOR BARBARA was typical of this - he fights poverty by giving good wages and housing and health care to the people who work in his armaments plants. That he might encourage war is nonsense - "Make war on war" is how he sees it.

    Only in the Great War had Shaw questioned this. He created Boss Mangan in HEARTBREAK HOUSE, who is really Undershaft up to date (1916). Undershaft had a ready, self-congratulatory statement and answer for everything. Mangan seems that way but his feet of clay are shown. He whines about his business policies that have helped lead to the present disaster to Britain. He can't undue them, for fear of losing his "Boss" position due to his shareholder's anger. And in the end, Mangan is killed (by an enemy bomb, ironically enough). It would take World War II to finally make Shaw realize how misplaced his faith in "Great Men" was. Notably he did not write that much after 1939.

    He showed he hope that private philanthropy by the wealthy might help. His plays keep suggesting solutions by the rich like BOUYANT BILLIONS. THE MILLIONAIRESS is a similar play. It actually can succeed as a comedy - Katherine Hepburn played Epifania successfully on stage. But it's point of view is hard to take.

    SPOILERS COMING UP

    Epifania has just become the richest woman in the world. She is seeking fulfillment in love. Her father (whose painting looks like Peter Sellers in a beard) has set the standard for whomever she will marry in the long run. It's hard to match. She asks for the assistance of the family lawyer (Sagamore - Alistair Sim), who introduces her around. Naturally the first person she dates seriously is that notorious fortune hunting scoundrel Dennis Price - but that relationship soon ends. Epifania decides to commit suicide. She approaches Sagamore, and Sim without blinking an eye hands her the recipe for a fool proof instantaneous, painless poison. Disgusted she goes to the Thames and throws herself in. And she meets Sellers, playing Dr. Kabir from India.

    Sellers is as mother fixated as Loren is father fixated (Seller's mother's picture looks like Loren). Loren falls for him, but he seems more concerned about his indigent patients and his clinic. What follows is Loren's attempts to win Sellers, first as a desperate patient, then as a would-be financial angel. Nothing she does stimulates him (he is rather surprised). Finally she does get him to agree to taking a test her father set up: can Sellers make a fortune out of 500 pounds (in three months), and Sellers gives her a test his mother set up for the woman he was to marry: can she live on 500 pounds for three months.

    We watch Loren go to work for small restaurant owner, Victorio De Sica, for three months - she ends up making it into a nightspot for the rich, and De Sica admits that he thinks he will sell it and then find a side street to start a nice small family restaurant again.

    Sellers tries to get rid of the money as quickly as he can - he puts out a tray with the money on it, and a sign saying "Free Money". His patients thinks it's a joke and don't take it. Finally he manages to unload it on fellow physician Noel Purcell, after a dinner they attend (where they both get drunk). This is disappointing to Loren, who decides that as Sellers has failed she will enter a convent (one that she has funded). Sim, not liking such a waste, contacts Sellers that Loren is going to commit suicide. This finally rouses Sellers, who shows up to prevent such a catastrophe.

    Sim actually gave the best performance of the three actors, but I feel it is because his Mr. Sagamore was just reacting to the activities of the other two. He was like a breeze of fresh air in the film's actions. Also the work by Purcell and De Sica was quite good, as small as both performances were. Loren and Sellers did well. There is some chemistry. Sellers read too much into this. Reputedly he thought Loren and he would become an item, but Loren never saw it that way.
  • This film starts off with Sophia Loren inheriting her father's fortune after his death. Early on, I disliked the movie as Loren's character was ridiculous--more of a caricature than a real millionairess. I'm a bit surprised I didn't turn off the movie and actually stuck with it. In so many ways, her selfish and petulant routine was almost like a burlesque of that sort of person, as it was too broad and not the least bit subtle or believable. Rarely have I ever felt this annoyed by Loren--a genuinely bad role for the otherwise talented actress. The only saving grace for this incredibly annoying creature was her solicitor, played by Alistair Sim--whose indifference to her ridiculous behavior was at least enjoyable.

    After Loren proves unlucky in love, she happens to run into an Indian doctor (played by Peter Sellers). Unlike other men, he is completely indifferent to her boorish misbehaviors or ample 'charms'. And, since Loren is playing a spoiled screwball, she falls for Sellers and does almost anything to get him. Frankly, this is an interesting but utterly ridiculous idea--and certainly not enough of a basis for a movie, as there is absolutely no chemistry between them and it didn't make sense. Sellers is pretty good and realistic in this role, but it isn't comedic in the least--despite the film being a comedy! In fact, his Indian character from THE PARTY would have probably worked better with this sort of broad comedy.

    Overall, a rather pointless waste of the talents of the actors. You'd think they could have done better. But, actors cannot overcome bad writing and indifferent direction. Clearly a misfire.
  • I am a big fan of Peter Sellers and this is one of the two reasons I saw this movie.The other one was to get some of this 60s wonderful feeling. Unfortunately both my expectations drowned during movie's running time. Seller's seemed simply not to fit in the role (at least not as much as he has spoiled us to expect from him), and nothing was there from this 60s feeling (apart from some truly kitsch, and for this adorable, nostalgic retro-future building interiors). All in all this was neither a good nor a bad movie, just a boring one.I am sure everyone expected something more than a dull and a bit childish comment on common social problems.
  • I loved watching Alastair Sim, Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers in action. Alastair's voice is still bubbling in my head as is Peter Seller's Indian accent. And all the beautiful cheesiness of a 1960's movie. If any of that appeals to you see the movie.
  • rupie20 September 2011
    There are countless examples of movies that can't decide what they want to be, and, as other users have pointed out, this is one of them. It's personality is split three ways - a comedy, a romance, and a social commentary sermon. By not committing itself fully to any one of these, it fails at all three. As a comedy it is unquestionably the most leaden one I have ever seen. The humor is forced, and none of the dialogue has any wit or sparkle. Prepare for vast stretches of confusing pointlessness. As a romance, the interaction between the two protagonists is totally unconvincing. And as far as social commentary - the aspect we can doubtless attribute to the socialist George Bernard Shaw, upon whose play it is based - it has all the subtlety of a polo mallet upside the head. The two greats, Alastair Sim and Peter Sellers, do as best as they can with what they are given. Sellers in particular does well reprising the Indian persona he perfected on The Goon Show. But Sophia Loren seems to have been chosen purely to flaunt her sex appeal which, though considerable, poses obvious and clumsy distractions from the story, and her character is totally unbelievable as far as motivation or personality. The movie is a complete waste of the talents of the actors involved.
  • I loved this film as a boy growing up in the 60s, and I love it today. In today's society in which sex is flaunted and perverted in the movies, it's nice to be able to take a trip back in time and see movies in which sex was depicted more as an "innuendo". Sophia Loren is one of the most beautiful women of all-time; and Peter Sellers was one of the funniest comics of all-time. Together they made a romantic comedy that could compete and surpass many of today's romantic comedies.
  • Let me just start off by saying that George Bernard Shaw is one of my all-time favorite playwrights, and Peter Sellers is one of my all-time favorite comic actors. So naturally I think this is a pretty good movie. I admit the concept is more interesting than the actual execution. But certainly the personality of the leads does compensate. And it is a very intriguing idea.

    I think the best moments are when Sophia Loren's character gets the good doctor to make a house call, the Doctor trying to give his fortune away on the street and no-one bothering to take it (Would that still be the case today?), as well as Alistair Sims excellent lawyer. And having worked in the medical profession (as a lab clerk), the dry comments on the high-tech lab equipment, and ruthless beurocracy of a large medical institution rang especially true. There are certainly some exceptional social commentary behind the human story, which is the trademark of Shaw's work.

    But I like this movie especially for being the inspiration of the classic novelty song "Goodness Gracious Me!", which the two leads recorded in order to promote the movie. I actually think the song works better.
  • laurel2100015 February 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    This film works very well, IMO, on the level of pure entertainment. There are many elements to be enjoyed.

    It is not a film in which one is swept away by the story and the characters. It's a film you watch with a certain detachment and never really suspend disbelief.

    But there is a lot of fun to be had in the amused detachment. A lot of the dialogue is really hilarious. That alone would have made it worth sitting through. But on top of that there is the way Peter Sellars interprets his particular character. The body language he brings to it and some of the nuances in his schtick are both intriguing and highly entertaining to observe.

    Then there is the stunning beauty of Sophia Loren which is further enhanced by a steady stream of wardrobe changes, each more spectacular than the one before.

    And then there is the parallel running commentary you can have in your own thoughts about how the movie plot line brings to mind some possible similarities that there may have been in the real-life relationship Princess Diana had with her very own Indian doctor, Dr. Khan, said by some to have been the love of her life.

    Again, a lot to enjoy about this film and well worth seeing, JMO.
  • apass12 March 2001
    Rather memorable on the whole. Not a great deal of laughing to be had, but certain vignettes are tasteful and entertaining, e.g. Epifania's three-month poverty-to-riches test, the doctor's futile three-month 500 pound give-away. Placing in the top quartile of my movie experiences, it's a light comedy well worth seeing.
  • I've never read the GBS play this is supposedly based on, but I'm sure it had to be better than this movie adaptation. Shaw's influence is evident in the emphasis on class warfare and the evils of capitalists. But the silly plot in which these ideas are presented is tedious and slow- moving.

    If you read a capsule summary of THE MILLIONAIRESS, you get the impression that it's somehow about a contest between a man and a woman, trying to fulfill the terms of various wills so they can be married. But the actual contest doesn't really come into focus until the movie is more than half over. Before that, it just grinds its gears, showing us how petulant and greedy Sophia Loren's character can be, and how pure and honorable Peter Sellers' Indian doctor can be. Her interest in him doesn't make much sense, and neither does his rejection of her advances. The abrupt ending leaves you wondering if a reel or two have been left out unintentionally.

    Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren (looking so young and radiant) are always fun to watch. Just imagine what a great comedy they COULD have made if a good screenwriter had developed a proper vehicle for them. Watching them work is the only thing that makes this movie bearable. Great comic actors like Alfie Bass and Alastair Sim are wasted in parts that barely allow them to stretch (although we do get a couple of Sim's trademark giggles).

    Besides all this, the film looks cheap. The sets are bare-bones; some looking like painted backgrounds from a school play. The scene where they visit the new hospital and Sellers raves about the equipment is a joke in itself: would he really be impressed by a couple of lab tables with a few test tubes and what looks like a Victorian microscope?

    This film is only for Sellers and/or Loren fans who insist on seeing everything they ever did. Those who are seeking entertainment should look elsewhere.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is arguably Puffin Asquith's worst directorial effort by a country mile; it's true that his best days were behind him and the last thing guaranteed to revive a flagging talent and jaded appetite is a limp script like this and two leads with less on-screen chemistry than Bette Davis and Errol Flynn. Even as a freebie with an English newspaper it's honestly not worth the price of the newspaper - for the record the paper in question sponsors the London Film Festival and free copies are available at each screening which means that the movie cost me absolutely nothing and I still feel overcharged. We're not talking Golden but Platinum Turkey here. One to leave the country to avoid.
  • "The Millionairess", loosely based on a play by George Bernard Shaw, is a British romantic comedy about a romance between a wealthy Italian heiress and an Indian doctor. (I cannot imagine the Hollywood of the early sixties making a rom-com about that particular racial combination). The heroine is Epifania Parerga, has inherited a vast fortune from her father; the hero is Ahmed el Kabir, who runs a clinic for the poor in London's East End. The main idea is that Epifania falls hopelessly in love with Kabir even though their values are diametrically opposed; she is a ruthless capitalist, he is an unworldly and idealistic socialist. (When Shaw wrote his play in 1936, doctors who worked in the East End or other poor working-class areas generally were self-sacrificing idealists, but the film is set in the year it was made, 1960, by which time the introduction of the National Health Service meant that this was no longer the case).

    To win Epifania, Kabir has to satisfy the conditions of her eccentric father's will, namely that he must turn £500 into £15,000 within a three-month period. As he has absolutely no business acumen whatever, this seems a hopeless task. To win Kabir, Epifania has to comply with an equally eccentric condition laid down by his mother; she must prove that she can survive on only 35 shillings (£1.75 in modern currency) for three months. Rather surprisingly, she proves to be more than equal to this task.

    The film was a great success, both in Britain and internationally, at the time of its release, but today it is difficult to understand why. Today it comes across as horribly dated. Part of the reason is that Peter Sellers' characterisation of Kabir, complete with brown makeup and sing-song accent, seems patronising, almost borderline racist, but there is more to it than that. (At least the song Goodness Gracious Me" was omitted from the film). Quite apart from the racial aspects, this is not Sellers' greatest performance. He could be very good in parts where he had to adopt a foreign accent, notably Inspector Clouseau in the "Pink Panther" series and Dr Strangelove in the film of that name, but both Clouseau and Strangelove were, in their very different ways, inspired creations. Kabir is not. He is a wordy, tedious bore of the sort that crops up in Shaw's drama from time to time, less a rounded individual than a mouthpiece for a set of political opinions, about as funny as a two-hour speech at a TUC conference.

    Sophia Loren as Epifania is better, and she puts a lot of zest and energy into her characterisation. For all his own left-wing views, Shaw often couldn't help creating right-wing characters who were more interesting than his idealistic leftists, Andrew Undershaft in "Major Barbara" being another example, and with her zeal for capitalist enterprise Epifania comes across as a sexier, more glamorous version of the young Margaret Thatcher. There is, however, little chemistry between Loren and Sellers. Legend has it that Sellers fell hopelessly in love with the beautiful Italian on the set of this movie but that she- happily married to Carlo Ponti- failed to return his affections. If the legend is true, it would explain a lot.

    There are some decent performances in supporting roles from the likes of Alastair Sim, Dennis Price and Alfie Bass, but they do not compensate for the lack of interest generated by the central love story. Director Anthony Asquith had earlier directed a very good Shaw adaptation ("Pygmalion" from 1938), but "The Millionairess" is not in the same class. 5/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A real gem of a pill of a picture. Who wrote this? Who made this? It is simply a bomb of major proportions with Peter Sellers, as the poor Indian doctor, drawn to a wealthy Italian woman, the indomitable Sophia Loren. Loren with her money can't find happiness and falls for our Indian doctor when she attempts suicide by jumping into the river.

    They both have agreements that they have to abide by such as making money and in Miss Loren's case-actually working for it.

    All of a sudden Ms. Loren is a genius in business. This is so utterly ridiculous, inane and any other negative adjective I can think of.

    The film is pure torture.
  • London-based Millionairess Epifania (Sophia Loren) has ended a bad marriage and feels that the only thing she still needs to fullfill her life is a good husband . Then Epifania is attracted to Indian Dr. Kabir (in the person of Peter Sellers) and she sets out to enmesh , but he is more intent on treating patients . As the wealthy heiress finds he evades her every effort to snare him . When she persists , he confides in her that he had made a commitment to his late widowed seamstress mother , as the humble doctor from India submitted to a series of conditions to marry , as his wife has to live in poor salary . She finds out that this sum is equivalent to just 35 shillings but readily accepts this challenge . She also informs him that her late father had also imposed a condition that she must wed a male who will turn £500 into £15000 within the same period. Racy Revelations of the Richest Girl in the World...And Her Wild, Wonderful Ways! The revealing revels of a very rich redhead who lives for pleasure...A beautiful babe in Balmain gowns and her wild wonderful ways...

    An amusing and fun comedy about a silly premise : a millionairess and a doctor cannot marry until they meet conditions set-up by their respective parents . Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers are adequate foils for each other in their respective roles . Resulting in a charming message , as in the complex process she learns that , money can't buy everything . From a play by George Bernard Shaw , this simple and agreeable comedy is attractive and enjoyable but mediocre . Lavishly filmed with top-notch actors , gorgeous costumes but excessively stagy , containing a colorful cinematography in Technicolor by cameraman Jack Hildyard , as well as lively musical score by Georges Van Parys . Beautiful Sophia Loren in her top splendor gives a likeable acting as an incredibly rich woman , while Sellers is nice playing in his usual style as a peculiar doctor who will wed any woman who will manage to survive on just a few money , for ninety days . This great duo starring being accompanied by notorious actors giving pretty good interpretations , such as : Alastair Sim , Vittorio De Sica , Dennis Price , Gary Raymond , Alfie Bass , Graham Stark , Noel Purcell and uncredited Roy Kinnear .

    This 20th Century-Fox motion picture was regular but professionally directed by Anthony Asquith , though marred by its really theatrical origin . Asquith was a good actor and filmmaker , directing films of all kinds of genres with penchant for comedy and drama , as he made the following ones : I stand condemned , Pygmalion , Cottage to let , We dive at dawn, The demi-paradise , The Winslow boy , Man of Evil , The woman in question, The Browning version , The importance of being Earnest , Carrington , The VIPSs , The Yellow Rolls-Royce , among others . Rating : 5.5/10 . Acceptable and passable but average . The flick will appeal to Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers fans.
  • Only reason I saw this was because of Peter Sellers, who I consider a comic genius (although an awful human being). Quite simply, I did not laugh once, indeed the only slightly amusing character was Alistair Sim's. Based on the George Bernard Shaw play of the same name, they changed the Egyptian Doctor to being Indian, so that Sellers could recreate his character from 'The Party', which didn't work as they are two very different movies. As For Sophie Loren, yes she's gorgeous, but very little else.
  • A familiar topic, the love/hate romance, is portrayed as an at times wacky comedy and at times an intense star-crossed romantic drama. Although the concept of romantic comedy has been done well many times, this is not one of them. The combining of the two genres is poorly done and inexcusable.

    Bizarrely, the wackiness comes mainly from scenery and editing, not Peter Sellers. There are jump flash scenes at the end that are out of place anywhere but a Doris Day comedy. Scenes of the Millionairess' 'throne' room and board who apparently manage her fortune are equally out of place.

    The film is redeemed only by a few somber lines delivered by Peter Sellers that are poignant and quotable, and the lovely Sophia Loren who is a vision in every scene.

    Pieces of the story line are touching and reminiscent of 'The Gift of the Magi.' Unfortunately, sifting through the rest of the film to find these treasures is hardly worth the effort.
  • Sophia Loren plays the only daughter of a wealthy Italian tycoon in London who dies and leaves his fortune to her; she's indifferent to the money and only wants love, but all her suitors are duds. Enter Peter Sellers as a doctor from India who treats the poor; he could use Sophia's money, but he's indifferent to her! Why the good doctor is uninterested in the woman is the weak link of the material, especially with Loren so glamorous. She even builds him his own state-of-the-art hospital, which of course he refuses. Sellers doesn't quite register as the saintly, don't-touch-me type, and his apprehension just stretches out this charade, but he is an interesting personality (especially when acting in a lower key). It's possible that Sophia's aggressive flirtations could scare doctor Peter away, but the deal they make here is a dull one, leading to a silly conclusion. Fine art direction, costumes and photography--and the leads make an intriguing movie-pair--but this George Bernard Shaw play is obviously not one of his better efforts. It collapses like a fancy but overworked soufflé. ** from ****
  • This is a better movie than I had expected. Peter Sellers did another uncannily dead on imitation of an accent, to go with his many imitations of accents from England and America, and he got to read some actual GBS lines, which was nice. There was more language from the George Bernard Shaw play than I had expected. Dennis Price and Alistair Sim offer nice comic support. I just wish they could have used an actress less concerned with how she looked and more interested in the language of the play.

    There are obvious flaws in this film. For starters, it suffers from extreme staginess. It's socialist message is not so much delivered but bludgeoned home. I give this film a pass because of the appealing performances by the film's leads, Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren. Sellers gives a terrific low-key turn as the sweet humanistic doctor. Loren is earthy yet manages to humanize the spoiled heiress she plays. As written, her character comes of as unappealing but Loren manages to engender empathy. Good supporting cast that includes Alistair Sim as Loren's barrister, Vittorio De Sica as a sweat shop owner, and Dennis Price as Loren's psychiatrist. Great film, great direction, great actors and actresses (Sofia Loren is amazingly beautiful, and no wonder why Sellers fell in love with her)!

    Overall rating: 7 out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The writers must have thought the name Epiphania to be screamingly funny, which is why it is uttered so often in the first 5 minutes. But instead of having me roll over with laughter this achieved the opposite: every mention of the name annoyed me more than the previous. In comedy, often less is more... especially when the "joke" in question isn't a proper joke.

    It's a typical vapid 50s/60s comedy (awful era for comedies), written with excessive longing for ultra-corny cheese, but saved somewhat from total doom by the casting of the two main protagonists. Sophia is surprisingly vivacious and good in the very stereotypical, typically exaggerated, formulaic role of a spoiled rich princess that needs a lesson in humility. She gets this lesson from socialists, of course - who are as we all know a BEACON of morality. (Because rich people are all evil, so claimed Georgie-boy, one of the writers, despite himself having been an exceedingly wealthy communist.) Sellers tried his best too... or did he? At times he appears to be bored, which nobody could blame him for. (Well, except the writers of this trash.) Whatever little he does right can't eke out much humour out of this shoddily written and conceived character. This is just one of the many awful comedies he had agreed to make because the money was good - and/or because he foolishly believed the script had potential. His choice of wives was legendarily random (and sometimes disastrous) similarly to his choice of projects.

    While the idea of an Indian doctor meeting Loren is interesting and could have had potential (in skilled writing hands), the idiotic reverse logic of her pursuing him instead makes things unnecessarily unrealistic, and as a result completely unfunny. I expected a story in which Sellers would pester Loren for her affection, just as had happened in real life between the two of them, but no dice. This far more logical and funnier approach was reversed for one simple reason: the movie just had to have some underlying preachy Marxist morality about the classes, which spoils all the fun. Wealthy Loren chasing reluctant Sellers is a typical dumb male fantasy anyway, and it gets increasingly dumber as this crap plods along. In real life, there were no beautiful rich women chasing Sellers, it would have been preposterous had it been that way; he did all the chasing, and legendarily so. (I've read a great biography on Sellers, and seen several documentaries. You're much better off with those than this turkey.)

    The notion that a 30something Indian doctor would be (almost) immune to the advances of voluptuous Sophia Loren is perfectly absurd, and it's a real problem. The fact that his rejection of her is based on his zealous idealism only exacerbates things further. (At this point the movie became less realistic than a 50s B-movie monster flick.) To perhaps illustrate how absurd it is (as if this needed an explanation), in real life Sellers was not only totally smitten with Loren during the shoot, he actually ended up following her to her next film set, dotting on her like a smitten stalker. Sellers actually got it into his strange head that Loren didn't act being in love but actually did fall for him.

    Add the fact that Sellers makes only one brief (and the only effective) appearance in the first 25 minutes, and we've got a very slow-moving comedy that bafflingly postpones Seller's involvement for very long. Not that it matters, because Sellers doesn't deliver. Sophia does quite well in those 25 minutes though, but the same cannot be said at all of the supporting actors/characters which are dreary and unfunny. Her character is a dumb cardboard cut-out but at least she does her best, and has charisma. She has nothing i.e. nobody to work with. As a result the dialog and situations appear stiff and unreal, hence unfunny. However, this would only get worse, ironically, with Seller's second appearance.

    TM could be described as a mediocre comedy in the first half-hour, but after that it's extremely unfunny, utterly dreary, and even soppy. The main reason it gets much worse is because the political propaganda and generic Hollywood sentimentality start diluting what little comedy there was to begin with. From here onward the movie is a mess. The Indian doctor's increasingly annoying/boring political/social preaching destroys what little comedy there was here to begin with; it renders him unlikable, pompous and unfunny, which goes to show what the writers' real priorities were. And it proves how utterly incompetent they were not to profit from Sellers's talent.

    Small wonder though. George Bernard Shaw co-wrote the script; he is far more (in)famous for being a communist than for writing funny scripts. (That overrated bore "Pygmalion", that's his.) The other writer is Mankowitz whose film resume is a what's-what of irrelevant piffle. The director is the mediocre Asquith, who had never made a notable movie despite directing a ton of them. Hilariously enough, while this righteous left-wing script pokes fun at upper-class power and wealth, Asquith himself was a silver-spoon fed-and-bred son of a top government official - leader of the Liberal Party and home secretary! Add to that the fact that Mankowitz lived a luxurious lifestyle with several villas, not to mention Georgie-boy with his enormous wealth, and you've got a classic example of Hollywood elitists exercising their right to be huge hypocrites, for the gazillionth time. (Virtue-signaling wasn't invented in this century, you know.) On a side note, George Bernard Shaw actually visited the Soviet Union during Stalin's rule - then came back to tell the British public what a wonderfully run country it was! We know he wasn't a moron, which leaves us with only one explanation...

    Suffice it to say, all communists are either liars or fools, and most of either category are shameless hypocrites who take every opportunity to snatch some wealth for themselves, then refuse to share it with their "comrades" and "droogs" as their ideology decrees. The commies involved in the making of this tripe should have left their mindless preaching for the laughable populist speeches of the Labour politicians they were chummy with, and focused instead on making these characters continually funny as opposed to almost never. It's supposed to be a COMEDY after all, not a Socialist manifesto. But such is the arrogance and fanaticism of the Far Left that they just have to grab every opportunity to hassle the public with political indoctrination. That's all they are interested in. (That and wealth.)

    The incompetence of the writers is evident from the very beginning. Aside from having characters parrot the name Epiphania like zombies, the condition under which Epiphania must marry is ludicrous: her future husband must be given 500 British pounds and turn them into 15,000 by the end of the next three months. This is a dumb premise because any wealthy or clever charlatan can simply LIE to her that he made that money. Instead of investing, he can lend the 15 K from the mob (for example) to "prove" that he made a profit, then get married to her and pay off his debt (to the mob) with high interest. Or are we to believe that Epiphania's deceased capitalist father was just as stupid as the communists who wrote this garbage? Surely a successful capitalist is bound to be ten times more intelligent than the vast majority of his envious socialist detractors... just as he declares in his will. How ironic, because the will was intended to achieve the opposite impression of him.
  • Dan14919 July 2020
    All the negative reviews make simply no sense to me. Surely, this is not a great film or a masterpiece, but it is interesting and exciting to follow the unfolding of the events. Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren play their respective roles marvelously and leave nothing to be desired. I would recommend this to everyone, who wants to enjoy watching a simple and a light film.
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