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A young writer gets initiated into the decadent lifestyle of Rome.
The citizens of Rome are startled by the sight of a huge statue of Christ being flown over the city by helicopter to the Vatican. Following in a second helicopter is Marcello Rubini, a journalist who, despite literary aspirations, earns his living writing gossip and scandal stories. In a nightclub, Marcello meets Maddalena, a jaded heiress. Together they pick up a prostitute and spend the night in the whore's room. Upon his return home at dawn, Marcello finds that his mistress, Emma, crushed by his perfidy, has attempted to poison herself. Her recovery assured, Marcello leaves Emma's side to cover the airport arrival of Sylvia Rank, a Hollywood starlet. Infatuated by the voluptuous blonde actress, Marcello accompanies her on a tour of the city, following her to St. Peter's Basilica, the Baths of Caracalla, and the Trevi fountain. The escapade ends violently, however, when Sylvia's fiancé, Robert, assaults Marcello. The reporter's next assignment is to cover a purported apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which two precocious children claim to have witnessed. The children's prevarication is exposed, and a sudden storm disperses the spectators. Later, Marcello's father visits him from the provinces but returns home when his son's lifestyle proves too strenuous for him. At a restaurant Marcello meets Paola, a young waitress whose provincial innocence appeals strongly to him. Marcello's assignments and adventures are punctuated by exhausting quarrels with Emma. The writer is further depressed when, following an evening of parties with aristocratic friends, he learns that Steiner, his wealthy and intellectual friend, has slain himself and his two children. Disillusioned, Marcello abandons himself to the pursuit of pleasure. The morning after an orgy at the seaside villa of the divorcée Nadia, Marcello and other guests roam through a forest to the beach, where a decomposing fish lies in the sand. As Marcello stares at its corpse, he sees Paola waving to him from across the canal; unable to understand what she is saying, he wanders off in the dawn to rejoin his friends.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 19 Apr 1961|
|Release Date:||1961||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Astor Pictures, American International Pictures|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Gray Films, Path Cinma, Riama Film|
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Jay Higgins 2009-10-23
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LA DOLCE VITA
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