HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
   
 
Newest Articles
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
   
 
  Millionairess, The Boom-Tiddy-Boom
Year: 1960
Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers, Alastair Sim, Vittorio De Sica, Dennis Price, Gary Raymond, Alfie Bass, Miriam Karlin, Noel Purcell, Virginia Vernon, Willoughby Goddard, Basil Hoskins, Gordon Sterne, Graham Stark, Diana Coupland, Tempe Adam, Pauline Jameson
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Upon the death of her millionaire father, Epifania Parerga (a breathtaking Sophia Loren) inherits a fabulous fortune alongside his advice never to marry a man who doesn’t know how to increase the sum of one-hundred and fifty pounds sterling a hundred fold in three months. Ignoring these words, Epifania hastily weds a handsome tennis player who can’t cope with her controlling ways and begins an adulterous affair, thus annulling the marriage within mere days. Being something of a drama queen, Epifania makes a showy suicide bid and jumps into the Thames river where she meets kindly Indian Doctor Kabir (Peter Sellers). Instantly smitten, Epifania resolves to win Kabir’s heart by any means necessary. But Kabir is a wholly altruistic soul who disdains money and has resolved to live by his late mother’s words: never marry a woman who can’t survive for three months on thirty-five shillings.

There are three things most commonly recalled about The Millionairess: its iconic va-va-voom image of Sophia Loren wearing skin-tight black underwear and a floppy pink hat, Peter Sellers’ in brown makeup pioneering his Indian accent, and the duo sharing vocals on the spin-off novelty record “Goodness, Gracious Me” which spawned the catchphrase that became the bane of Anglo-Asian kids across Britain and inspired the popular sketch comedy show. Of course there is a fourth memorable aspect in that the two stars may or may not have had an affair in real life. Certainly Sellers was infatuated with Loren but while Spike Milligan was of the opinion the romance was real, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2003) contends he made the whole thing up.

Ah, but what of the movie? Based on a play by George Bernard Shaw, adapted by Italian writer Riccardo Aragno and revised for the screen by British scripter Wolf Mankowitz, The Millionairess is a sex comedy not in the sense that there is anything racier onscreen than a few admittedly scintillating glimpses of Loren’s bare back, but in that it deals with need and desire. Cleverly woven amidst the standard rom-com battle of the sexes is the potent question of whether men of learning can truly oppose the will of those in power, and the observation that indifference to money is as foolish as coveting it above all else.

For a comedy it is somewhat slow-moving, which combined with its philosophical inclinations renders things more wryly amusing than laugh-out-loud funny. But while its teetering attitude towards capitalism does vex (e.g. the almost flippantly chilling scene where a lawyer buys patents for potential cures for cancer and the common cold), the film scores as a romantic fable on the strength of its leads and a charming portrait of London just as the austere Fifties were about to give way to the Swinging Sixties.

A big hit in its day, while English critics were effusive in their praise, the opulent production design led their more left-leaning Italian counterparts to dismiss this as a fashion show. Loren is really quite something to behold in her endless array of flamboyant outfits, while the camera glides along her curvaceous physique as if admiring some fantastic feat of engineering. The Sixties were very good to Loren, one of the few foreign actress who juggled successful careers in Europe and Hollywood. Though she won an Oscar for the unremittingly grim Two Women (1960), a sensually charged turn here showcases her underrated flair for comedy.

Refreshingly, Epifania has brains and guile to go along with her looks and proves more than a match for the scheming lawyers and psychiatrists out to snag her fortune. She also has a winning way with a judo flip. Loren handles the waspish one-liners and physical comedy with great skill ably matching the supporting cast of quality character actors including Alastair Sim as a shifty lawyer, Dennis Price as a caddish (what else?) psychiatrist and her mentor Vittorio De Sica as the pasta manufacturer whose business Epifania turns into a mechanized success but loses all the heart. As well as mounting a satirical attack on mechanized industry, the film assaults the dehumanized aspects of modern health care, although veteran director Anthony Asquith should have pushed this aspect a little further.

For some the mere sight of Peter Sellers in brown makeup has proven an irritant, but speaking as an Asian his portrayal of Dr. Kabir is not in the least bit offensive. The jokes stem from Kabir being a funny man, not from his race. Moreover, Kabir is drawn as a very decent, deeply moral human being who shows Epifania the poverty and suffering to which she had been oblivious. Sellers is at his most restrained and nuanced and not once does he utter the words “goodness, gracious me.”

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4118 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: