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Old movies and beautiful backdrops!


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At only twenty, I have fallen in love with old cinema. I much prefer Pual Newman, Clark Gable or Tyrone Power to some of the actors today. But more specifically I enjoy old films that are set in either Italy, South America or Spain. I recently purchased "Three Coins in a Fountain," and "Roman Holiday," but was wondering if anyone could offer more titles so that I can buy more. I faintly remember one starring Don Ameche, but can't remember the title. If anyone could help it would be much appreciated! Thanks!

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Welcome, Rio--Ken's choices for movies in exotic settings are terrific, especially "Lawrence of Arabia", (filmed in the actual Middle Eastern settings) and Black Narcissus (filmed largely in the studio, though it takes place in the foothills of the Himalayas)! A couple of ideas come to mind for your travels--



Italian movies and movies about Italy offer an embarassment of riches...but, these are some of the most beautiful, at least to me...though we're still just scratching the surface. The silent versions of "Ben Hur" (1925)& "The White Sister"(1923), "Spartacus" (1961), "Senso"(1954), "La Dolce Vita"(1960), & "Marriage, Italian Style"(1964) & "Two Women"(1961), the latter two films featuring one of Italy's national wonders, Sophia Loren, in 2 of her best performances.


Another good one that you might like with Tyrone Power is "Prince of Foxes" (1949) about the Borgias and the city states in Renaissance Italy. Filmed, alas, in black and white, on location, this is one of the few times I'd prefer color to b & w. Orson Welles and Everett Sloane have a great time in this movie as Cesare Borgia and Power's sidekick, respectively.



South America:

hmmm, this is a little tougher. I'd suggest these--

"Captain from Castille" (1947) with your pal Tyrone Power in a corker of an adventure story about the conquest of Mexico by Cortez(Cesar Romero, who's very good).


"The Naked Jungle" & "Secrets of the Incas" (Both From 1954 & both starring Charlton Heston)

Heston played a couple of guys whose characteristics were later emulated by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in the Indiana Jones' movies: "The Naked Jungle" has a plantation teeming with a tidal wave of fire ants, Eleanor Parker, and a very testy Chuck.


"Secret of the Incas" was made right after this one, and its alot of fun too, due largely to a great supporting cast for Heston, along with alot of archealogical cliches & Incan scenery. Also along for the ride are Thomas Mitchell and Robert Young.




"Blood and Sand" (1941) with Tyrone Power as a young matador, corrupted by the beautiful Rita Hayworth & loved by a very pure Linda Darnell. Highly entertaining.


"For Whom the Bell Tolls" (1943)-Ernest Hemingway's story of the Spanish Civil War with Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman and 2 supporting actors who steal the movie, Katina Paxinou and Akim Tamiroff. Filmed in the mountains around Sonora, California, not Spain, but beautifully photographed by Ray Rennahan.


"El Cid",(1961) again with Charlton Heston, as the medieval uniter of Spain was filmed in what looked like every castle on the Iberian peninsula, with Sophia Loren looking ravishing again.


Enjoy, Rio. :-)

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Wow! I am amazed and delighted by such quick responses to my post! I have already seen "El Cid," and "For Whom the Bell Tolls;" excellent choices I agree. While films set in Italy may be lavish, that is exactly the reason I love them so much. Breathtaking villas and sunsets on the Mediterranean are the settings of some of my favorite films. Captivating cinematography in movies such as "How to Catch a Thief," or "One Night in Rio" give me such great joy during the long rainy seasons here in Washington.

--So thanks again. While I watch TCM quite often, I'm extremely humbled by your knowledge of the classics. One more thing though...I remember seeing an old film last year starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford: The two actors meet on a cruise ship and fall for eachother. Crawford's character is engaged to an old socialite and Gable's character owns a ranch in Africa. Of course the drama here is that Joan needs to find a way to break her engagement in order to marry Gable. Both the backdrop and acting are wonderful. Do you think you know what the title is?

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Hi Rio - It's always nice to see someone else around my age who enjoys classic films.

The Don Ameche film that you are thinking of is probably "That Night in Rio," also starring Alice Faye, and Carmen Miranda. TCM can't show it since it's a Fox film, but I know it's on video, and the Fox Movie Channel shows it from time to time.

Another film you might enjoy is "Summertime," with Katherine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi. It takes place in Venice. Ernst Lubitsch's "Trouble in Paradise," also takes place in Venice, as well as Paris.

One of my favorites for location is "Dodsworth," from 1936 starring Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton. It's about an American couple who travel all over Europe as their marriage disolves, and its nice to see all of the places they visit.

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