Rome Adventure (1962) offers a languid visual treat
|Photo Credit: Rome Adventure / Warner Bros.|
As a melodramatic journey of 1960s morals about love, sex, and chivalry, Rome Adventure is a picturesque romantic drama. Trailing the ingenue through her experiences, the movie travels at a leisurely pace. Using Europe as a captivating backdrop, Bell weaves in and out of the nooks of crannies of not only the country but desire, attraction, and friendship.
Beyond the geographical and human eye-candy of the male co-stars, Suzanne Pleshette is absolutely charming, and hard to believe with her grace and maturity, just twenty-five years old. Not experienced in love or romance, her character learns a lot about herself as an individual and as someone else's half, which makes her relatable. She's challenged to re-evaluate her self-value passed pure sexual attraction, a glamorous wardrobe, or an ethereal sophistication. Pleshette's doesn't necessarily give a powerhouse performance, nor does the direction really call for it, but her subtle expressions convey so much, it's hard not to be completely hypnotized by her presence.
Though Bell's earnest dalliances are fairly predictable, she shares a variety of camaraderie and courtships with all of her encounters. The chemistry that absolutely sizzle on-screen is between Pleshette and Donahue. So much so, it's not hard to believe they married in real life after filming wrapped, though their off-screen relationship only lasted eight months.
Besides Pleshette, the production design makes up for the story's languid pace. Every frame captures the rich landscape of Italy, Switzerland, and other European landmarks allowing the cinematography to completely take you away. Someone get me a travel agent and tell them I want the Rome Adventure tour. As well, the costume design is to-die-for. No matter how unhurried the movie might be, Bell's summer getaway prudently plants the same ideas that Italy can be the place to fall in love.
Contrary to the title, Rome Adventure doesn't have an exciting bone in its body. The story is, by all means, a steady, old-fashioned drama topped with a little bit of humor and sexuality. But the leading lady and production is what will sweep you off your feet.