A PLACE FOR LOVERS (AMANTI) (director/writer: Vittorio De Sica; screenwriters: Cesare Zavattini/Julian Halevy/Peter Baldwin/Ennio De Concini/Tonino Guerra/from the play Amanti by Brunello Rondi and Renaldo Cabieri; cinematographer: Pasquale De Santis; editor: Adriana Novelli; music: Manual De Sica; cast: Marcello Mastroianni (Valerio), Faye Dunaway (Julia), Caroline Mortimer (Maggie), Karin Engh (Griselda), Esmeralda Ruspoli (Attorney's Wife); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Arthur Cohn/Carlo Ponti; MGM; 1968-Italy/France-in Italian with English subtitles)

"If it weren't for the gorgeous location shots of the Italian Alps, I would have dozed off."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Vittorio De Sica ("Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow"/"A Brief Vacation"/"The Garden of Finzi-Continis") lazily directs this hokey romantic misfire. It's soap opera friendly. The five screenwriters keep stepping over each other for lines and are confused of what to make of the play by Brunello Rondi and Renaldo Cabieri. If it weren't for the gorgeous location shots of the Italian Alps, I would have dozed off. Marcello Mastroianni and Faye Dunaway team up  to play a pair of star-crossed lovers, who are 'beautiful people' but can't make the stagey dialogue less clunky. At least Faye looks hot and Marcello looks receptive.

The American divorcée fashion designer Julia (Faye Dunaway) is staying in a luxury villa near Venice, that her friend lets her use. She watches Italian engineer Valero (Marcello Mastroianni) being interviewed on TV. He was the stranger who gave her his calling card at an airport and told her to call. Now she impulsively calls him and by evening they're in the sack. When other hedonist guests arrive that night, an orgy takes place. This ticks Valero off and he splits. But don't despair, the pic is not over. Julia hooks up with Valero the next day, as she catches him testing a new racing car accident-prevention device at the autodrome and when he catches another look at her bod they get it on again together this time at an Italian Alpine chalet. When Maggie (Caroline Mortimer), Julia's friend and business partner, lets Valero know that Julia is terminally ill and should be hospitalized so that the morphine can ease the pain in the last stages of her illness, Valero understands why she's so easy. In the end, Valero prevents her from suicide, and she accepts his love as a source of strength in her last days.

It's debatable whether this illness-dying romancer is better or worse than Love Story. If you are curious, this is the film for you. As for me, I almost died from sadness watching both manipulative flicks.

REVIEWED ON 8/31/2014       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"