Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rome Adventure (1962)


Rome Adventure is one of those 1950-1960s potboilers that questions the sexual mores of society as seen and done by popular novelists of the time. In a category with A Summer Place or Peyton Place, but less deep, it pits one generation versus another over the proper nature of love and sex. Given the nature of life in 2012, it seems quaint, even slightly silly, and certainly foreign to postmodern people.

As for geography, Rome Adventure has Suzanne Pleshette fleeing sexual/love 9ijpmm57pxa7ax5issues in the United States by going to find a life in Rome. Meeting Rossano Brazzi on the ship, he becomes the source and model of Italian mores. More important Pleshette meets Troy Donahue at her boarding house and love develops.

Where that love develops is against the setting, the geography of Italy. Early, we get a snap tour of Rome from Barzzi, but it shows only the obvious stereotyped symbols of Rome with a quick fact about each one. They drive by way to fast. We see the Arch of Constantine, the Coliseum, and Palatine Hill. These are what they are, and one wonders if anyone ever really drives in Rome in a sporty car beside a woman like Pleshette explaining that Rome began in 753 BC on the Palatine Hill?

A later we actually get on the tour bus. A real guide explains things we are seeing. Sites include an Etruscan festival of flags and the Baptistry, Cathedral, and Leaning Tower in Pisa. Then we head out along the sea coast for the view and the rocky cliffs. At one stop Donahue explains why medieval churches have sculpture and paintings outside. In times when few could read, the Bible stories had to be shown in paintings.

They leave the tour to venture out alone by Vespa scooter. We see a lot of country road, tree lined of course, as they fall in love. We do see some sea coast and the rocky cliffs. .We find ourselves up North at Lago maggiore, near the Alps. Out in the lake are the famous castles. Do note the brightly colored giant umbrellas over tables by the water. So Italian

A side visit finds us scootering to Verona. With Pleshette in Juliet’s Balcony, Donahue delivers Shakespeare to the applause of the crowd. We do get to see a scattering of classic bridges, wine and cheese, and old streets made for pedestrians and an occasional horse

A picnic in the mountains shows us the rocky Apennines in fine color. They kiss to a spectacular view. At a village inn Donahue asks for a room with a view and the owner waves his hands in all directions over and over indicating every room has a view with them all around.

Well a nice tour, but actually slightly weak on the gusto of Italian life. You see Italian life, but most goes by without explanation.