The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Showbiz Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 29, 1954 (USA)  |   Run Time - 128 min.  |   Countries - Italy , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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The Barefoot Contessa combines the flashback structure of Citizen Kane with an attention-grabbing variant of the standard showbiz rags-to-riches story. The film's cynical tone and shifting viewpoint is similar to writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's earlier success, All About Eve. (Citizen Kane was co-written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz's brother, Herman Mankiewicz). The derivative nature of the story aside, The Barefoot Contessa is a beautiful-looking film, with cinematographer Jack Cardiff putting the film's Italian locations to magnificent use. Given what was happening concurrently in Italian cinema, The Barefoot Contessa is an interesting glimpse at neo-realism Hollywood-style. There's very little original about it, but it skillfully combines disparate elements drawn from more classic works. The result, while not a masterpiece, is an intelligent, well-produced example of storytelling, highlighted by occasional bursts of passionate dialogue and solid performances.