Apparently in the Italy of the 1920s, the only way to keep your home out of the maws of the tax collector was to steal and cheat from everyone in sight -- and the dupes you'd swindle wouldn't know the difference since all their attentions would be focused upon cheating you. That little bit of homespun philosophy is the only conclusion to be drawn from Arabella, a broad sex-farce enlivened with British comic Terry-Thomas appearing in a quartet of roles, and the sexy Virna Lisi as the title character, who is compelled into chicanery in order to prevent her mother's home from being taken away by the tax man. To raise funds, Arabella rooks money from Terry-Thomas, in various fake beard incarnations as a general, a duke, a hotel manger, and an insurance agent. But while she is busy conning the four Thomases, she steps on the toes of an equally tricky burglar (James Fox) and two young lovers -- Giancarlo Giannini and Melina Vukotic. Arabella ultimately becomes attracted to the burglar. Now she must hold her base animal urges in abeyance and concentrate on squeezing more cash out of the Terry-Thomases.
by Paul Brenner synopsis