The Barefoot Contessa

128 minutes

Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1956 Cinderella story, with Ava Gardner as a peasant waif elevated to international star status by producer Humphrey Bogart, a thinly veiled Mankiewicz stand-in. It's overlong, talky, and sometimes stolid, but these are all familiar Mankiewicz failings. He shines in his deft verbal wit and novelistic propensity for detail, backlit by a highly personal blend of romance and cynicism. An imperfect film, but its excesses are as suggestive as its subtleties.

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