EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|FIVE GOLDEN HOURS (director: Mario Zampi; screenwriter: Hans Wilhelm; cinematographer: Christopher Challis; editor: Bill Lewthwaite; music: Stanley Black; cast: Ernie Kovacs (Aldo Bondi), Cyd Charisse (Baroness Sandra), George Sanders (Mr. Bing), Kay Hammond (Martha), Dennis Price (Raphael), Clelia Matania (Rosalia), John Le Mesurier (Doctor Alfieri), Finlay Currie (Father Superior), Reginald Beckwith (Brother Geronimo), Avice Landone (Beatrice); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Mario Zampi; Columbia Pictures; 1961-UK/Italy)|
|"The wooden acting and lame
comedy never registers."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Wilhelm comes up with a clever premise for this black comedy, but the
wooden acting (especially Cyd
Charisse) and lame
comedy never registers. It's the last film directed by Italian
filmmaker Mario Zampi ("Too Many Crooks"/"Your
Past is Showing"/"I Chose Love"), who died in 1963.
For Ernie Kovacs, a popular television comedian at the time, he would
appear in ten films, but this was his only starring role. In 1962, at
the age of 42, Kovacs died in a car accident.
Aldo Bondi (Ernie Kovacs) is
a good-hearted con artist, who is a professional
mourner and pallbearer for an upper-class Rome cemetery. Aldo consoles
widows during the funerals they attend for their spouses and manages to
live off the wealthy widows by ingratiating himself to them and taking
away their loneliness. Things take a turn for the worse when he tries
his act on the beautiful but
Baroness Sandra (Cyd Charisse) and lets his guard down by falling in
love with her. To show off his skill as a bread-winner, Aldo gets
involved in a complex swindle with three
other widows. They
give him money to invest in the New York Stock Market. The scam he
pulls on them is based on the five-hour time difference between New
York and Rome. Even though the offbeat scheme works, Sandra flees with the money.
Ashamed to face the widows,
plans to kill them. But bungles the job. To avoid prison, Aldo feigns
insanity and is placed in a mental institution. There he meets another
con artist, Mr. Bing (George Sanders), who is also feigning insanity.
When one of Aldo's widows dies she leaves him her money if he recovers
his sanity, but if he doesn't she intends to leave her inheritance to a
monastery. Aldo arranges to split the money with the monastery and returns to Rome. This time
when he hooks up with Baroness
Sandra, a widow six times already, he's not so fortunate as before.
REVIEWED ON 6/8/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ