Movie Diary 5/14/2018

A Tale of Five Cities (Montgomery Tully et al., 1951). A stilted postwar project about a British RAF pilot (Bonar Colleano) with amnesia, who travels to five places in order to locate women he met, in the hope they can identify him (he’s got their autographs but no I.D. of his own). The premise is actually workable; it’s the execution that constantly relies on contrived bad-sitcom-level misunderstandings. The cities are Rome, Vienna, Berlin, Paris, and London, all with some pretty interesting location shooting (the movie apparently has uncredited directors for the different sections; for instance, Wolfgang Staude, who did the harrowing “rubble film” The Murderers Are Among Us, shot the Berlin segment, using some of the same ruined streets). There’s one affecting section, in Vienna, with Eva Bartok as a Hungarian immigrant who can’t leave the country and exists as a paid escort. (Thanks to going down the IMDb rabbit hole, I now know all about Eva Bartok, including her claim that the daughter she bore while married to Curt Jurgens was actually the child of Frank Sinatra.) There’s some fun with Gina Lollobrigida in the Roman segment, whose boyfriend is played by an extremely young Marcello Mastroianni. Otherwise – a weird one.

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