Three stories about the lives and loves of those who own a certain yellow Rolls-Royce: **First purchased by Lord Charles Frinton – The Marquess of Frinton (Sir Rex Harrison) for his wife as a belated anniversary present. Lady Eloise Frinton – The Marchioness of Frinton (Jeanne Moreau) finds her own use for the vehicle, one which prompts her husband to sell the car in disgust. **Gangster Paolo Maltese’s (George C. Scott’s) moll, Mae Jenkins (Shirley MacLaine), thinks the Rolls is a “classy” car in which to tour Paolo’s home town in Italy. When Paolo is called away to the U.S. to finish some “business”, a bored Mae takes the Rolls-Royce on a spin through the country, enjoying both the sights and handsome Italian photographer Stefano (Alain Delon), who crosses her path. **By the outbreak of World War II, the car has come into the possession of socialite Gerda Millett (Ingrid Bergman). While on her way to visit Yugoslavian royalty, Gerda and the Rolls-Royce become (at first) unwitting and…
A.L.Beneteau <[email protected]>
User Reviews: An impressive line up of noted international actors was accrued for this three part film, with the title car serving as the connective tissue between episodes (which occur several years apart.) Harrison leads with a tale involving the purchase of the vehicle for his wife as a belated anniversary gift. His character could almost be a cousin to Henry Higgins and is played in much the same manner, though with a slightly more serious and sentimental edge. The wife (Moreau, in a pretty wooden portrayal) turns out not to be so deserving of the Rolls. This sequence is lavishly appointed with impressive sets and costumes and that "veddy" British air, but winds up being pretty uneventful. Next up is Scott as a gangster touring Italy with his sidekick Carney and his moll MacLaine (who, in a blonde wig looks and acts alarmingly similar to Renee Zellweger in "Chicago"!) They purchase the car to get them to his home town. However, when Scott has to return to the U.S. to take out an enemy, MacLaine becomes enamored of a local gigolo (Delon) and pursues a tentative romance with him. Miscast Scott is aloof and hammy at the same time, but wears some nice suits. Carney does some nice, low key work. MacLaine (with her chewing gum, which should have gotten billing!) wears a bit thin with all the schtick and overacting, but she pulls off a few decent moments. The real highlight of this section (and of the entire film!) is the jaw-droppingly beautiful sight of the impossibly beautiful Alain Delon. Slathered in tan body make-up, his light blue eyes stand out like pools of spring water. His charm and lean good looks overwhelm even the striking location scenery. Finally, Bergman purchases the car to get her into Yugoslavia during WWII. Sharif bums a ride and eventually involves her in the transport of resistance fighters across rugged terrain. Bergman looks terrific in the early part of this story and creates an unusual and intriguing character, complete with a yapping Pekinese and a hilarious cohort (Grenhall, in a hilarious performance that is way too brief.) She and Sharif make an odd, but attractive pair. The film is beautiful to look at (even if the fabled title car looks like a rather unattractive taxi!) However, the stories just aren’t memorable enough to make this film really matter. Very little occurs in them and there is precious little dramatic payoff in each one. The director had previously done the stiflingly static "The V.I.P.’s" and, though this film is far more opened up and varied, the overall layer of reserve is still in place. Still, it’s great to see the various actors doing their thing, especially Delon and Bergman, and there are several beautiful scenic shots. In the end, it’s a classy, sometimes stagnant, but always elegant film.