Despite the sumptuous decor and elaborately produced musical track, no more care has gone into the visual plan than into an average TV variety show. The wobbly zooms, the clumsy reframings, the absurd mismatches, and the vulgar superimpositions multiply endlessly and senselessly. The director, Franco Zeffirelli, has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most incompetent narrative filmmakers at work today (Endless Love, The Champ), yet he is also famous for his staging of opera at La Scala. If this is Zeffirelli at his best, it is indistinguishable from Zeffirelli at his worst—there's no real difference between his direction of Teresa Stratas and his direction of Brooke Shields (1982).
By Dave Kehr