Making the Grades
Rome may be one of the most romantic spots in the world but love still eludes three American secretaries working in the Italian capital—even after two of them throw coins in the famous Trevi fountain, known for granting wishes.
Giving up on the possibility of passion, Anita Hutchins (Jean Peters) has given notice at the U.S. foreign government office where she works and is planning to return to the States. Then one of the local translators in her office (Rossano Brazzi) reveals the feelings he’s kept hidden from her. While Georgio’s family is thrilled to meet the pretty American, the couple’s boss, Mr. Burgoyne (Howard St. John), isn’t happy about the revelation. As far as he is concerned, their relationship violates office policy and as a result Georgio loses his job.
Meanwhile Maria Williams (Maggie McNamara) has just arrived in Rome to replace Anita. Soon afterwards, she lays eyes on Prince Dino di Cessi (Louis Jourdan), who is known for his womanizing ways. To get his attention, she discovers everything she can about the handsome royal and lies to him about her own interests. It all goes well until he discovers her deception.
Finally after 15 years of working for a reclusive expatriate author (Clifton Webb), Miss Frances (Dorothy McGuire) sadly surrenders to the fact that her love will never be returned by the oblivious novelist. With little hope for a happily-ever-after, the three women pack their bags in anticipation of a return flight home.
Nominated for Best Picture in 1955 and awarded Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Music, Original Song, Three Coins in The Fountain moves at a meandering pace and fails to integrate the three women’s stories, choosing instead to tell one story at a time. With depictions of smoking, alcohol use and some brief sexual innuendo, the film contains less content than many modern romantic comedies but does little to develop this cast of characters. Luckily the beautiful, panoramic shots of the Italian landscape and celebrated landmarks offer an inviting diversion to the sluggish script in this classic cinematic release.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Three Coins in the Fountain.
How do current romantic comedies differ from this film?
How is the Italian culture portrayed in this movie?