Avanti

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United Artists Released 1972

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Movie Summary

Director:
Billy Wilder
Released:
1972
Rating:
R

Avanti! (1972) is the sunniest and most romantic of Billy Wilder's comedies. The film begins with Wendell Armbruster Jr. (Jack Lemmon) leaving his American home to travel to the Italian island of Ischia, where his father has just died in a car crash. Upon arriving, he discovers that his father did not go to Italy (once a year for a month for the last decade) just to enjoy revitalizing mud baths, but had actually been visiting his mistress, an Englishwoman. Wendell meets the daughter of the mistress, Pamela (Juliet Mills), with whom he initially clashes; but eventually they fall in love. Unfortunately, their romance becomes extremely complicated - by the red tape they have to go through, by the Italian habit of taking three hours for lunch, by a murder at their hotel and by the awkward fact that the corpses of their parents go missing!

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (3)

    • During her tour of the island, Pamela drives past a cinema showing a French film, "Boulevard de Rhum" - in which a key role is played by Clive Revill, one of her co-stars in this film.

    • The film was very loosely based on a play by Samuel Taylor, which had had only a brief run on Broadway some five years earlier. When the play was produced in London, the part Juliet Mills plays in this film was taken by her sister, Hayley Mills.

    • The one-scene appearance of Ty Hardin as the helicopter pilot was uncredited.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Pamela Piggott: Italy isn't a country. It's an emotion.

    • Carlo Carlucci: [looking at photos of Wendell where he is naked except for his socks]: Why the black socks? Is it because you are in mourning?

    • J.J. Blodgett: [unsure that he is being taken to the right island]: Maybe it's one of those Greek islands?
      Helicopter Pilot: No, sir - Greece is way to the left.
      J.J. Blodgett: Not whilst I'm in the State Department!

    • Wendell Armbruster Jr.: [looking around the hotel with distaste]: Not exactly a Hilton, is it?
      Carlo Carlucci: I accept your compliment.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Some members of the supporting cast are not professional actors - Dr. Fleischman is played by a famous make-up artist, Harry Ray (also noted for his close resemblance to Billy Wilder!), whilst the maitre d' is played by Guidarino Guidi, a famous actor's agent in Rome who had been consulted by Billy Wilder about the casting of supporting parts and ended up getting cast himself. The Italian dialect coach, Raffaele Mottola, plays the passport official, whilst the elderly Baron is played by Armando Giovagnoli, who was in reality Billy Wilder's chauffeur.

    • Billy Wilder originally hoped to cast Marcello Mastroianni as Carlucci and hoped to persuade Walter Matthau to take a cameo role as Blodgett. A scheduling conflict caused the latter to drop out, whilst Clive Revill took over the part of Carlucci only at the last minute.

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More Info About This Movie

Categories

Comedy, Drama

Themes

Love & Romance