4 January 2018 | bensonmum2
Mildly amusing . . . but troubling
Tony Curtis is Nick Johnson, a man who uses his irresistible charm to use women to his personal, financial gain. He goes through a string of women whose untimely deaths give Johnson more wealth than he could earn on his own (at least with the same, minimal effort). He meets his match in wealthy, young, beautiful, fabulously gorgeous widow Francesca di Rienzi (Rosanna Schiaffino). The problem is he actually finds himself falling in love with her.
My 5/10 rating should indicate that I found Arrivederci, Baby! mildly amusing. I wasn't rolling in the floor laughing, but most of the movie is at least passable entertainment at its worst. The final act where Curtis and Schiaffino go toe-to-toe is the film's highlight. They're on equal footing. With most of the other women, Curtis has the upper-hand before they realize they're being had. It's not fair. I think my favorite bits might have been either the croquet match or dance floor fight scenes - really good stuff. Other than the creepy bits where Curtis tries to play a "boy", he's good. I didn't care for the instances where he breaks the fourth wall, but that's not his fault. Schiaffino is in fine form. What a woman! After I watched her in The Witch, I wrote, "I don't know where these Italian producers found these incredible women. It's not a stretch of the imagination to believe Schiaffino could force any man to fall for her." I could say exactly the same after watching this film.
I've already mentioned my problem with Curtis as a "boy", but I had other issues with his NIck Johnson. I get the feeling that Arrivederci, Baby! was meant to be a light-hearted romp. But there's a really dark undercurrent that I found troubling. Johnson isn't just a typical, loveable con-artist stealing money from rich women. He's also a murderer and a rapist. Not the characteristics you find in most rom-coms.
A couple of final points: 1. The European locations are to die for in this movie. And here, they're presented in all their 60s glory. What visions! 2. The supporting cast is especially strong. Lionel Jeffries, Zsa Zsa Gabor (yes, even Zsa Zsa), Nancy Kwan, and especially Anna Quayle add a lot of flavor and variety to the film.