Skip to content

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

United States 1954 130 mins.

Humphrey Bogart plays Harry Dawes, a recovering alcoholic film director who plucks simple nightclub dancer Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner) out of obscurity and turns her into an international movie star. The influential Roman fashion designers the Fontana Sisters created Gardner’s costumes, including the iconic and controversial “pretino” (based on a priest’s cassock and complete with a giant rosary), which was later referenced by Piero Gherardi for Anita Ekberg’s enticing costume in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. “Mankiewicz’s pitiless take on the dissolute, dispiriting world of international filmmaking, a veritable film à clef…the film’s aura of profound and limitless disenchantment looks ahead to Fellini and Godard’s Contempt.”—Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Genres: Drama, Romance

Appears in: Italian Style



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.