24 January 2016 | sol-
From Rome with Love
Introduced to a handsome young man during a stay in Italy, an insecure widowed US actress fights back her knowledge that the gentleman is just a gigolo in this Tennessee Williams adaptation starring Vivien Leigh in her penultimate big screen performance. Suffering from real life marital problems at the time, Leigh provides a performance with an air of vulnerability that rings true, but even better is Lotte Lenya of 'From Russia with Love' fame, cast here as the conniving 'countess' who introduces Leigh to her young suitor. Rambling on about the virtues of love and companionship, Lenya seems like a benevolent force at first, but as the film progresses and we see just how hell-bent she is on gaining financially from her matchmaking, she eventually seems almost as sinister as her better known Bond villainess. Promising as all this might sound though, the film is let down by never really igniting romantic sparks between Leigh and Warren Beatty as the young gigolo. Leigh never seems less than delusional to believe that he really loves her and Beatty only ever seems opportunistic. Beatty's awkward performance does not help matters though. He certainly looks the part, but with a faltering Italian accent, he never feels real whenever he opens his mouth. The main sell point of the film though is surely the dark and deliciously ambiguous ending. One exits the film really feeling like Leigh has suffered a personal blow and the uncertainty of her eventual fate is pitch perfect as she herself is unsure what the future holds for her by the end of the movie.