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The Barefoot Contessa Reviews

Page 1 of 9

Super Reviewer

October 10, 2012
An actress, who befriends a washed up Hollywood director, struggles to maintain her integrity in the spurious business of movie-making.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz is a master story-teller. Yes, in this film, he takes the easy way out of exposition by using voice over, but the characters so are finely drawn and theme is carried with deft clarity. Humphrey Bogart proves himself to be an actor, an artist, not just a personality like many movie stars of his era. His scenes with Ava Gardner are rich with subtext, and while there's a palpable sexual attraction between the two characters, both people realize that decorum demands they react as they do.
Mankiewicz's themes of personal integrity and Hollywood's corruption, on display in All About Eve and this film, have universal appeal because there's little that's unique about Mankiewicz's version of Hollywood.
I thought that the writing got a little heavy-handed here and there.
Overall, however, The Barefoot Contessa is a very good, classic film that puts Mankiewicz and Bogart's talents on full display.

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2008
Great cast and good story but it misses somewhat and is rather plodding. Good try though.
George M

Super Reviewer

November 24, 2011
Not as a good attempt at mythologizing (and demythologizing) a star through multiple perspectives as in All About Eve. The structure of the film is the same and shows how much forward of his time Mankiewicz was in breaking classical narrative within the compounds of Hollywood (still Citizen Kane precedes everything else and one should comment M. for accepting the lesson). Bogard isn't convincing enough in this movie as he still looks like he is out of a gangster film but he has a rare, inner quality of emotion at times. The film totally shines in dialogue (after all this is a Mankiewicz script) just as All About Eve and the brilliant lines come one after the other. For that reason and for the characterization that is created this way it totally deserves to be seen.
May 14, 2012
Exciting movie that kind of fizzles out with Maria being vague and inaccessible as a character. Bogart gets old as the powerless director, but the film is still interesting. It is great to see the story from many different people and how they intertwine with different perspectives. Gardner is beautiful.
June 1, 2011
The Femme Fetale Lifestyle finally backfires & it becomes Fatal.This is a beautiful from Gypsy Rags to a Countessa's Riches Story.She Toys with Men.She Falls in Love & Marries the One man who is Physically incapable of Loving her, & it is a fatal mistake.Superbly Cast & Acted by Eva Gardner,Humphrey Bogart, & Rossano Brazzi.
December 17, 2010
Having nothing to do with the fat lady from the Food Network and everything to do with SPOILER ALERT genital mutilation. Sorry, I can't help it, it made me laugh. I also don't recall seeing Bogart in technicolor before.
March 22, 2009
Not even Bogie and Gardner's impeccable acting could save this film from being too long and a tad melodramatic.
December 28, 2008
So I put this movie on to soak up some time. Ended up plopped right in front of it trying to hear over the kids. The story really takes you for a ride in the mystery that is Maria or The Barefoot Contessa. I would say that the most touching part other than Bogey's role is the end scene where he takes her shoes off and just holds her. Ava Gardner really is angel like in all of her distinguished beauty.
May 10, 2008
This is a good movie

Plot: Movie director Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart), in a sequence of flashbacks, ponders the life of ravishing Tinseltown star Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner). A flamenco dancer at a two-bit cabaret when a trio ...( read more read more... )of showbiz VIPs discovers her, Maria finds fame, fortune and love in the blink of an eye. It appears at first glance that Maria has it all, but her tempestuous nature and a devastating secret in her marriage to an Italian count give rise to tragedy.
July 14, 2008
This movie far exceeded my expactations. Eva's character was so was heartbreaking. And i love the relationship her and Bogart had.
November 13, 2007
I thought it was interesting. After watching this movie, I kinda became hooked to TCM and just watching all of the other classic movies.
April 3, 2005
[color=yellow]Long live the blobbie movie weekend! Got a bunch of movies to watch this weekend and my rental store was generous enough to throw in free popcorn and coke - woo hoo! Managed to watch Le Divorce, Barefoot Contessa and Hidalgo.[/color]

[color=yellow]Barefoot Contessa (1954)[/color]
[color=yellow]Humphrey Bogart essentially plays the same character in all his movies; world-weary cynic with biting, dry humour. Love the way he disses the brash OTT PR guy who is slow to grasp his subtle comments. Ava Gardner is like WOW strong, independent, defiant and in control. A woman before her time, her character hints that she has always been very proud; "it's like a sickness" and "no man has ever paid for me". This is essentially what motivates her character throughout the story and eventually contributes to her demise when she meets her match; an equally proud Italian Count. This is great dark entertainment if you're in the mood for slightly film noir/glamorous nostalgia. Warning: the film makes use of [slightly annoying] narrative and flashback techniques. [/color]
June 15, 2014
She only dances one time, then no more.

Harry Dawes is a down on his luck writer/director that finds happiness at the bottom of a glass. A producer sees his talent and carries him around looking for his next big break, and he thinks he found it in Maria Vargas. Maria is a Spanish dancer with a beautiful look and unmatched charisma. She reluctantly decides to work with the producer under the guidance of Dawes. Dawes ensures they only stay friends, but life moves fast for Maria and when she finally lets her guard down for a moment, the world eats her up.

"Many men must be in love with you."
"From the dirt it is hard to tell."
"Haven't you ever been in love?"
"From the dirt it is easy to look at the clouds."

Joseph Mankiewicz, director of Cleopatra, Guys and Dolls, All about Eve, Dragonwyck, The Honey Pot, Julius Caesar, and Sleuth, delivers The Barefoot Contessa. The storyline for this picture was fascinating and is interestingly taken from the real lives of Rita Heyworth (who was offered the lead role) and Ava Gardner (who ultimately starred in this picture). The plot unravels perfectly and the dialogue and monologue was magnificent. The cast delivers remarkable performances and includes Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, Warren Stevens, Elizabeth Sellars, Edmond O'Brien, Valentina Cortese, and Rossano Brazzi.

"She hasn't got what I've got."
"What she's got, you couldn't spell. And what you've got, you don't have any more."

I DVR'd this off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) because it starred one of my all time favorite actors, Humphrey Bogart. This is an underrated gem that does have some clumsy scenes in the middle where there's a stretch Bogart, but the movie quickly gets back on track to conclude perfectly. Overall, this is a must see movie and borderline worth adding to your DVD collection.

"In Hollywood it is not easy to become a star."
"Where is it easy?"

Grade; A
May 22, 2014
The Barefoot Contessa is an excellent film. It is about has-been director Harry Dawes who gets a new lease on his career when independently wealthy Kirk Edwards hires him to write and direct a film. Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner give amazing performances. The script is well written. Joseph L. Mankiewicz did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and mystery. The Barefoot Contessa is a must see.
April 27, 2014
Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart at their best!
April 21, 2014
A slick melodramatic "Hollywood looks at itself" movie that's not as sharp and insightful as "All About Eve" or as deliriously melodramatic as "Two Weeks in Another Town". It's tastefully dull. Edmond O'Brien deserved his Oscar. Bogart never seems completely comfortable with this role. The movie really should be grounded by Ava Gardner, who, as usual, looks good but isn't terribly interesting.
October 21, 2013
The first third with Bogie is pretty good, and then it starts slogging downhill through increasingly wretched acting and melodrama toward one of the most stupid, pointless, and unbelievable endings in the history of cinema. Overall, a real turkey, and I'm shocked than anyone would feel otherwise.
Robyn M.
April 19, 2013
It was a sweet treat the refined Hollywood Icon prove he still has what it takes! A delightful touch from Technicolor and fashion department.

In the hands of Joseph Mankiewicz, "The Barefoot Contessa" frequently bristles with crackling dialogue (would you have expected less?). Unique to this contribution from Mankiewicz is the portent that hangs over the film. As the details of Maria's life are expounded, empathy for her fate increases accordingly. Impeccably well-cast, this is actually an ensemble film. Gardner is luminous as Maria, though she is not solely dependent on her looks to carry the film--she gives a real performance. Bogart is stalwart and sympathetic as Maria's protector.
Hank D.
November 26, 2012
I liked the movie for 3 reasons: Ava, Ava, Ava.
October 3, 2012
Worth watching just to see Ava in her beautiful dresses by the Fontana sisters
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