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Arabella

Arabella(1970)

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In Italy in the 1920's Arabella Danesi is forced to turn to swindling to help keep the home of her mother, Princess Ilaria, from the tax collector. She tricks a hotel manager into giving her a large sum of money by pretending that she is a close friend of Mussolini (the swindle, meanwhile, prevents a burglar named Giorgio from breaking into the hotel's safe). The money is not enough, however, so Arabella postpones her wedding and tries to extort money from a general who was photographed with her in scandalous poses. Giorgio, still upset by the failure of the hotel theft, attempts to blackmail the general, but Arabella persuades the general that she should deliver the blackmail money herself, and when the grateful general hands over £1,000, Arabella takes the money directly to her mother. Her next victim is a duke who hires Arabella to change his son Saverio's indifference toward women so that the young man can marry Graziella, his fiancée. When Arabella approaches Saverio, he readily admits that he is feigning disinterest so that his father will continue to procure beautiful women for him. Agreeing to take a painting for her silence, she promises to sleep with Saverio the following night, but instead she substitutes Graziella, and she and the grateful duke watch the proof of his son's virility. Arabella then goes to a gambling casino in Venice where she sees Giorgio, who, because of a heavy losing streak, is on the verge of suicide. After persuading him not to kill himself, she goes with Giorgio to his room to make love; the next morning Arabella awakens to find herself naked in a museum, surrounded by tourists. She returns to her home to find the tax collectors about to repossess the house. As a last resort, her mother plans to burn down the mansion for the insurance money, but after igniting the fire, she realizes that the insurance policy has been left behind. She rushes in to find it, with Arabella following. Giorgio arrives in time to save them both, and he and Arabella reconcile amidst the ruins.