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The Barefoot Contessa

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.

Appears in: Italian Style

Genres: Drama, Romance

Other Films by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

All About Eve

Bette Davis picked up a justified “late-career” Academy Award nomination (her eighth) for her role as Margo Channing, a famous Broadway actress just past the ripe old age of 40, who fears a career decline. Showbiz timing being what it is, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), an up-and-coming young actress, swoops in to remind Margo of