The Battle of the Villa Fiorita
|The Battle of the Villa Fiorita|
|Directed by||Delmer Daves|
|Written by||Delmer Daves|
|Based on||the novel by Rumer Godden|
|Music by||Mischa Spoliansky|
(composed and conducted)
|Cinematography||Oswald Morris B.S.C.|
|Edited by||Bert Bates|
A Delmer Daves Production
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
In Italy, two children, Michael (Martin Stephens) and Debbie (Elizabeth Dear), are aware that their mother, Moira (Maureen O'Hara), has left them for a lover, a famous Italian composer, and they are staying at the Villa Fiorita. Michael convinces Debbie to run away to the Villa to fetch their mother, and forces her to sell her prized pony to afford the journey. They arrive, and the lover, Lorenzo (Rossano Brazzi), calls their father to inform him that the children have run away and that he will be sending them home. However, Michael falls ill and Lorenzo allows them both to stay. Debbie joins forces with Donna, the daughter of their mother's lover, to manipulate Moira into returning to Britain. A hunger strike by the girls ensues which fails and culminates in Moira slapping Debbie and Lorenzo spanking Donna. Lorenzo finally decides to send the children home but Michael and Donna attempt to run away on a sailboat during a storm. After the two nearly drown, Moira and Lorenzo agree that they have lost the battle, and a heartbroken Moira returns to England with her children.
- This was the last film for Delmer Daves who, two years earlier, wrote, produced and directed another film in which Maureen O'Hara played the female lead, Spencer's Mountain. His retirement lasted twelve years, until his death in 1977.
- This is the first film for Argentina-born English actress Olivia Hussey who, three years later, played Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet.
Turner Classic Movies showing
Turner Classic Movies presented The Battle of the Villa Fiorita on 20 November 2015 as part of its 24-hour "TCM Memorial Tribute to Maureen O'Hara" [who died on 24 October], with commentary by host Robert Osborne. Shown earlier was 1939's Jamaica Inn, 1961's The Deadly Companions and 1963's Spencer's Mountain and McLintock!. Following The Battle of the Villa Fiorita, the tribute continued with 1971's Big Jake, 1957's The Wings of Eagles, 1939's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1952's The Quiet Man and At Sword's Point, 1947's Sinbad the Sailor and 1945's The Spanish Main.
- Introduction for the majority of the films in the Maureen O'Hara tribute
"Hi, I'm Robert Osborne. Right now, we're setting aside our previously scheduled programming in order to pay tribute to one of the legendary stars from the so-called "Golden Era of Hollywood"… beautiful Maureen O'Hara, who died last month at her home in Boise, Idaho at the age of ninety-five. Over the course of her six decades as an actress, Maureen divided her time between living in her native Ireland, also a home in Hollywood and, later, a residence in the Virgin Islands where she ran a commuter seaplane service with her third husband, a former Air Force brigadier general. In all, Maureen O'Hara appeared in some sixty-five films and television projects with a wide range of co-stars that includes everybody from John Wayne and Henry Fonda, to James Stewart, John Candy and Macaulay Culkin. Her final acting role was in a made-for-TV movie in the year two thousand, after which she retired from acting, was rarely seen or written about for several years… not until the spring of two thousand and fourteen when she agreed to make an appearance at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. Her appearance at the festival caused a really big to-do. Film fans were thrilled to see her again and everybody was reminded of what this spirited and talented Irish lady with the flaming red hair had contributed to so many classic films. Among those who were also paying attention were members of Hollywood's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The result of that was that Maureen was presented, later in two thousand and fourteen, an Honorary Oscar for being, and I quote, "one of Hollywood's brightest stars whose inspiring performances flowed with passion, warmth and strength". Well, in her honor, we now bring you another example of her beauty… and her talent."