Friday, January 27, 2017

Great Moments In Movie Shelves #92

Did any of you catch the 1962 travelogue romance Rome Adventure on TCM the other night? I stopped because I thought it was David Lean's film Summertime (which I just named one of my five favorite movies of 1955 the other day) at first but I got hooked even after I realized it wasn't - you can't go wrong with the baritone hum of Suzanne Pleshette and all that astonishing technicolor Italian scenery. And shelves! 

Suzanne's character works at a bookstore while she's spending the summer in Rome, and a bunch of scenes center on her "friendship" with the owner Constance Ford -- I put that in quotes because Pleshette and Ford spend half the movie eye-fucking each other across the stacks of Baudelaire. Between this and The Birds I'm starting to think Suzy might've spent some time visiting the Isle of Lesbos while she was abroad. (A BROAD -- GET IT?)

But yes ostensibly as you see above this movie is supposed to be a romance between Suzanne and the 60s King of Bland Troy Donahue, even though he couldn't make chemistry with a beaker full of hydrochloric acid stuffed down his shorts. I will never get Troy Donahue, and knowing that he was brought in to replace the much more charismatic and handsome Tab Hunter once Tab refused to play Hollywood's games will probably always make me side-eye him.

I probably shouldn't shit-talk poor Troy too much today though since it is his birthday -- he would've been turning 81 today if he was still alive. And he doesn't really get in the way of the scenery in Rome Adventure, which is what you go to this kind of movie for in the first place, and man...

... does it deliver. I looked up its filming locations and discovered that I have actually been to the same section of Northern Italy that Troy & Suzanne take a small break to in the middle of the film, which was exciting -- I mean we do have a series here on the blog of places I have visited in movies, so this counts, even if after the fact. So they visit the mountain range called the Dolomites, specifically a couple of towns called Bolzano and Trentino, both of which I have been through on my way to the town called Castelrotto, which is a little further into the mountains. Here's me making a friend there!

I don't know whether I am Suzanne Pleshette or whether the dog is Suzanne Pleshette in that picture, but it's basically identical to the picture before it either way. I remade this movie without even knowing! Anyway Rome Adventure is fun in that very specific "We're going on vacation!" way - I wish they made more movies like it these days. Every so often you get an Under the Tuscan Sun but  it's a genre that should really be more popular, don't ya think?

What's your favorite Travelogue Movie?


DCameron said...

Not sure if you know this, but Suzanne and Troy were married briefly in 1964.

JA said...

Yes right you are, DCameron! I totally meant to mention that and forgot. When they talked about the movie on TCM they mentioned it. What a weird couple. I guess swanning around those romantic locations could do that to anybody, though.

joel65913 said...

Favorite travelogue film is a tough one. This is a definite candidate as is Summertime. I'd torn between Under the Tuscan Sun and How the West Was Won. But there are dozens more...the original Far From the Madding Crowd, Excalibur, River of No Return and on and on.

Suzanne and Troy were a beautiful couple in pictures, her darkness and his blonde surfer boy made a great contrast, BUT on screen she was an incredibly strong vivid presence and he was a blank. Their marriage was brief but they remained on good terms until the end of his life and she spoke very fondly of him. I'm guessing he was someone like Ali MacGraw who was much more animated in private but who's allure and spontaneity evaporated when they faced the movie camera.

I ADORE Connie Ford!! No matter how small her role was she made it stand out and when she was able to let it fly as she did in A Summer Place she was brilliant. Love her in this and those white sunglasses she sports at the end shouting PRUDY! PRUDY! are fierce and so 50's. She played Ada Davis on one of my soaps "Another World" for decades and was a continual source of pleasure usually acting rings around her costars. Unsurprisingly she played a tough no nonsense character who had zero problem ripping into anyone who crossed her.

Anonymous said...

I love this movie even though it suffuses in cheesiness. Angie Dickinson was a delight to watch! I agree with you that Troy D had zero charisma (not to mention acting ability)....but he does look better than horse-face Jake:) If nothing else, Rome Adventure will be remembered for all that charming sceneries and of course Suzanna P.

Anonymous said...

To add on to my earlier post, Suzanne spoke about Troy in several interviews. Said it was heartbreaking for her to witness his addiction and to divorce him even though she loved him much. They acted in another movie together (some war movie I think) just before their divorce. However, Troy almost never spoke of her except during a talk show in the 70s where he was asked if he was still in contact with Suzanna and he politely said 'not much but she's a friend'.

Forever1267 said...

I could think of more, but it's 130 AM, so I'll go with Christmas in London during "Love, Actually" as a perfect travelogue movie. It just all looks so romantic, and that's what I thought during the brief days I visited there.

Italy is perfection. Such a beautiful country.

Anonymous said...


Bill Carter said...

Favorite travelogue movies?

A great road trip double feature of "Thelma and Louise" and "Y Tu Mama Tambien". "Thelma" probably had the better scenery, but I'd rather ride in the back seat with Gael and/or Diego.

Anonymous said...

Does 'Two for the Road' qualify as a travelogue movie? I love how Audrey Hepburn matures in the film.