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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Avanti! (1972)

The 1970s is my least favourite decade for film but I will admit that the beginning of the decade had some really great, and some of my favourite, films (The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, Fiddler on the Roof, Harold and Maude, to name but a few). So when I decided to watch something made in 1972 for my first film of 2012, I had my fingers crossed that it would be one of the better films of the '70s. It didn't let me down.

Avanti!, 1972
The director: Billy Wilder
The stars: Jack Lemmon, Juliet Mills
IMDb says: A successful business man goes to Italy to arrange for the return of his tycoon-father's body only to discover dad had died with his mistress of long standing.

Although the story is ridiculously unbelievable (but if you watched The Miracle of Morgan's Creek immediately before watching Avanti! it wouldn't seem half so crazy), Avanti! is without a doubt one of the most charming comedic films I've seen in a long time. 

Wendell Armbruster, Jr. (Jack Lemmon) travels to island of Ischia to take the body of his late father back to America but upon arriving, he is informed by fellow traveller Pamela Piggott (Juliet Mills), a poor English woman, that his father and her mother were lovers and that they both died in the car crash. Pamela wants their parents to be buried together on the island, but Wendell is determined to have his father sent back to America where a huge, nationwide funeral is being planned. Before they can come to an agreement, however, both of the bodies are stolen from the morgue. Whilst all this is going on, Pamela somehow manages to convince Wendell that they must celebrate their parents memories by spending the evening as their parents did when they were staying on Ischia (with the help of the hotel staff who provide them with all the food and drink that their parents were accustomed too.). I'm not sure nude swimming at sunrise was on Wendell's itinerary though. The rest of the film is fairly predictable but, nevertheless, enjoyable.

It's definitely not perfect but Billy Wilder never made a film that wasn't worth watching (*cough*exceptforSabrina*cough*) and his films with Jack Lemmon are all fantastic. With beautiful scenery, terrific acting (I'd never seen Juliet Mills in a film before; the Mills family have far too much talent!), and Billy Wilder in the director's seat, it's a film you should just sit back and enjoy. One of the only flaws about the film is that at 138 minutes, it is rather long for such a fluffy comedy. That being said, it didn't really feel as though it was dragging at any point. 

Thanks for reading! 

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