The Secret of Santa Vittoria
|The Secret of Santa Vittoria|
|Directed by||Stanley Kramer|
|Produced by||Stanley Kramer
|Written by||William Rose
and Ben Maddow
|Based on||the novel The Secret of Santa Vittoria
by Robert Crichton
and Anna Magnani
|Music by||Ernest Gold|
|Cinematography||Giuseppe Rotunno, A.S.C.|
|Edited by||William A. Lyon, A.C.E.
and Earle Herdan
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Box office||$2.7 million (US/ Canada rentals)|
The Secret of Santa Vittoria is a 1969 film produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and distributed by United Artists. It was produced and directed by Stanley Kramer and co-produced by George Glass from a screenplay by Ben Maddow and William Rose. It was based on the best-selling novel by Robert Crichton. The music score was by Ernest Gold and the cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno.
The film stars Anthony Quinn, Anna Magnani, Virna Lisi, Hardy Kruger, and Sergio Franchi. It also features Renato Rascel, Giancarlo Giannini, and Eduardo Ciannelli; with Valentina Cortese making an uncredited appearance. It was almost entirely shot on location in Anticoli Corrado, Italy (near Rome).
The world premiere was held in Los Angeles, USA on October 20, 1969. Television coverage included a special split-screen selection during The Joey Bishop Show. Army Archerd, Regis Philbin and Buddy Hackett interviewed Stanley Kramer, Anthony Quinn, Virna Lisi, and Sergio Franchi from Los Angeles. The premiere was held to benefit the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center, with Gregory Peck as chairman. The event ended with a celebration at the Century Plaza Hotel.
During World War II in the summer of 1943, in the aftermath of the fall of the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini, the German army uses the ensuing political vacuum to occupy most of the peninsula of Italy.
Italo Bombolini (Anthony Quinn), the mayor of the wine-making hill town of Santa Vittoria, learns that the German occupation forces want to take all of Santa Vittoria's wine with them. The townspeople frantically hide a million bottles in a cave before the arrival of a German army detachment under the command of Sepp von Prum (Hardy Kruger).
The Germans are given a few thousand bottles, but von Prum knows there is a lot more. The two very different men engage in a battle of wits. Finally, with time running out, a frustrated von Prum threatens to shoot Bombolini unless the hidden wine is given up, but no one speaks. Not being a fanatic, von Prum leaves without harming the mayor.
The film earned $6.5 million worldwide, which was considered a disappointment considering the popularity of the novel.
Awards and nominations
The film was nominated for two Academy Awards for Film Editing (William A. Lyon and Earle Herdan) and Best Music Score (Ernest Gold). It was nominated for an Eddie award by the American Cinema Editors, USA for best edited feature film.
The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Comedy; and was nominated by the Golden Globe Awards committee for Best Director (Stanley Kramer), Best Actor Comedy (Anthony Quinn), Best Actress Comedy (Anna Magnani), Best Original Score (Ernest Gold) and Best Original Song ("Stay", Ernest Gold and Norman Gimbel)
The Secret of Santa Vittoria on Turner Classic Movies
The Secret of Santa Vittoria was shown on April 30, 2015 on Turner Classic Movies as part of its "Star of the Month salute" to Anthony Quinn.
"Hey everybody, welcome to TCM, I'm Ben Mankiewicz, filling in tonight for Robert Osborne. Coming up, we have movie number two in our double feature of Anthony Quinn comedies. And, like the film we just showed, Flap, Quinn is once more playing a character who likes to imbibe — this time his beverage of choice is wine. From nineteen sixty-nine and released through United Artists, it's The Secret of Santa Vittoria. Based on the novel of the same name by Robert Crichton, no relation to Michael, by the way, The Secret of Santa Vittoria takes place in a northern Italian village during the Second World War. Anthony Quinn plays a colorful and affable sort, also a tipsy one, often looked down on, as the town drunk. But, through an odd set of circumstances — movie circumstances — he's appointed mayor.
Soon after, the townspeople learn they're about to be occupied by the Nazis and they go into a panic. But it isn't their lives they fear for — it's their wine. So the new mayor hatches a plan to keep the vino out of German hands and off German lips. This is a spirited romp, as it sounds, even one of the Nazis is charming. It's set against the backdrop of the Italian countryside, with beautiful Technicolor cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno. The man calling the shots on the film is Stanley Kramer, working for the first time with Anthony Quinn — they would collaborate again one year later on the 1970 drama R. P. M. Joining Quinn in the cast is Anna Magnani, Virna Lisa sic, Giancarlo Giannini and Hardy Kruger as that aforementioned charming Nazi scene-stealer. Pour yourself a glass of chianti and relax. From nineteen sixty-nine, here's Anthony Quinn in The Secret of Santa Vittoria."
- Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, Uni of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p 146
- "Big Rental Films of 1970", Variety, 6 January 1971 p 11
- "TV Listings." (October 20, 1969). The Seattle Times, Seattle, WA
- "Secret Premier to Benefit Study Center." (September 13, 1969) Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA.
- "Secret Picked for Festival." (August 2, 1969). The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Secret of Santa Vittoria.|
- The Secret of Santa Vittoria at the Internet Movie Database
- The Secret of Santa Vittoria at the American Film Institute Catalog
- The Secret of Santa Vittoria at the TCM Movie Database
- The Secret of Santa Vittoria at AllMovie
- The Secret of Santa Vittoria at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Secret of Santa Vittoria at TV Guide (revised form of this 1987 write-up was originally published in The Motion Picture Guide)