25 April 2006 | blanche-2
Hudson and Lollobrigida in Italy
Rock Hudson and Gina Lollabrigida star in "Come September," a 1961 comedy beautifully photographed to showcase the glorious scenery of Portafino, Italy, and the exquisiteness of Gina Lollabrigida, a knockout if there ever was one. Haven't seen her lately, but 25 years later, she was every bit as gorgeous.
Hudson plays a millionaire who comes to Italy to spend time in his villa each September. This year, he arrives early, looking forward to a dalliance with Lollobrigida as well. But she's through with him and planning to marry someone else - until she hears his voice. When Hudson arrives at his fabulous villa, he discovers that his major domo (expertly played by Walter Slezak) has, for the last six years, been turning his place into a hotel. There is a bus load of young girls staying there with their chaperone, who slips on a champagne cork and is put out of commission. Thus, the girls can't leave and Hudson feels compelled to chaperone them. When Lollobrigida hears the advice he's giving the young women to keep them out of the clutches of some young men who have arrived with reservations - she's not happy. The young men figure Hudson is too old to compete with them so they try exhausting him, hoping to get some time alone with the women.
Though this comedy sags in the middle, it's a cute story and the cast is delightful, including Sandra Dee and Bobby Darrin, who sings the title song and also "Multiplication" at a night club. A great talent, his is a sad story of a gifted song stylist who didn't live to mine his full potential. It is during this film that he met his future wife, Dee.
Hudson is handsome and fit and again shows his ability for comedy, and Lollabrigida gives an energetic, sexy performance. Their dance together in the nightclub is a high point.
One of the posters mentioned that Hudson's films today are diminished because of his now-known sexual preference. I submit this is ridiculous. Straight people have played gay people for years, and vice versa. The fact that we may not be aware of it doesn't make it any less true. Hudson plays a straight man in this, and he's effective. When did it become a mandate that actors could only play themselves? It's not called acting for nothing.