The Monte Carlo Story


1h 39m 1957
The Monte Carlo Story

Brief Synopsis

Two compulsive gamblers fall in love on the French Riviera.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Montecarlo Story
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
Aug 1957
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 20 Jun 1957
Production Company
Tan Films, S.A.; Titanus Studios
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Italy and United States
Location
Monte Carlo,Monaco; Rome,Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Dino della Fiana, an impoverished, Italian count turned professional gambler, lives on a modest boat in the harbor at Monte Carlo. Several of the servants at the hotel and other local residents have backed Dino's ventures at the casino's gambling tables, but he has had a long run of bad luck and owes his "investors" ten thousand dollars. The backers are naturally eager to recover their investments and, as Dino has a reputation as a lover, attempt to find him a rich wife among the hotel's guests. After Dino rejects two potential wives, he is excited by the arrival of Maria, the Marquise de Crevecoeur, who is presumed to be an extremely rich widow. However, M. Duval, who has followed her from Paris, is also anxious to meet her. Duval knows that Maria is actually a broke, professional gambler on a losing streak and recovers the jewelry she bought from his firm with a bad check. Later, in the hotel dining room, maître d' Hector, one of Dino's investors, seats him at a single table next to Maria's and provides him with an opulent meal while some of the other investors look on, nervously. Maria is suitably impressed by Dino's apparent wealth and he with hers. Over several days, they court each other while Dino's friends worry about the mounting bills. Maria persuades Duval to let her rent her jewelry and promises that she will have cash the following day, courtesy of Dino. That evening, Maria arrives, dripping in jewels, for dinner at the Sporting Club. After dinner, in her hotel room, the romantic sparring continues to the accompaniment of a violinist provided by the investors. When the count arrives for breakfast the next morning, he jokingly asks Maria to marry him and they both admire a large yacht entering the harbor. The yacht is owned by American millionaire Homer Hinkley, who is on board with his eighteen-year-old daughter Jane, and two friends, Mr. and Mrs. Freeman, who hail from Homer's hometown of Muncie, Indiana. Eventually, Dino and Maria decide to marry and honeymoon on Dino's yacht, once he can afford to have the motor repaired. Dino confesses to Maria that he has no money, but assumes that she has more than enough for both of them. Maria, in turn, tells him about her impoverished state and returns the jewelry to Duval, advising him that the count is also broke. Unpon learning of Dino's predicament, his investors are unhappy, while Maria decides to try to hook a certifiably rich man. Meanwhile, Homer insists on steering his yacht into the harbor and crashes into Dino's. Maria courts Homer, a widower who has made his fortune in tin cans, and introduces Dino as her brother. Dino's investors urge him to romance Jane, who is somewhat interested in him and wants to learn "society" customs. After they all have dinner together, they retire to the casino, where Dino manages to lose some of Homer's money. Another evening finds Maria enchanting Homer by serenading him with "Back Home Again in Indiana." Jane is puzzled by the relationship between Maria and Dino, but arranges to have a new motor installed in Dino's yacht. After Maria announces that she is leaving for Paris, Homer asks her to marry him. Even after Maria tells him the truth about her "brother" and that she is a "fortune-hunting" gambler, Homer still wants to marry her. Meanwhile, Jane, who has a crush on Dino and is unconcerned about the difference in their ages, mentions a combination of numbers related to their ages that compels Dino to run off to the casino to try the formula at the roulette table. Dino wins handsomely and the investors gather excitedly. However, he then begins to lose and, thanks to Maria's advice, loses even more before one of the investors slugs him and he is dragged away with what is left of his winnings. Later, Dino says farewell to Maria as she prepares to leave with Homer, then asks Jane to contact him when she eventually marries, in order that he can dance at her wedding. The next day, Dino pays off his investors, swears he will never gamble again and leaves for Naples. As Dino passes Homer on the open sea, Maria suddenly tells Homer that she belongs with Dino and thanks him as he turns the yacht toward Dino's. Soon, Maria and Dino are heading off together while the ever-philosophical Homer smiles and hugs his daughter.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Montecarlo Story
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Release Date
Aug 1957
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 20 Jun 1957
Production Company
Tan Films, S.A.; Titanus Studios
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
Italy and United States
Location
Monte Carlo,Monaco; Rome,Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

The Monte Carlo Story


Marlene Dietrich accepted the invitation of her friend, renowned Italian actor-director Vittorio De Sica, to costar opposite him in United Artists' The Monte Carlo Story (1956). This romantic tale focuses on a love affair between two compulsive gamblers who maintain their resplendent images even while down on their luck. Maria Riva, Dietrich's daughter, writes in her 1992 biography Marlene Dietrich that her mother had great respect for De Sica as "the genius who had made The Bicycle Thief" (1948). It was understood that, although Sam Taylor was the official director of The Monte Carlo Story, De Sica also would have a hand in the direction.

The bulk of the film was shot on location in Monte Carlo's actual hotels, casinos and restaurants, with only brief shooting later at a movie studio in Rome. Dietrich, an expert in matters of lighting and cinematography, wrote to Riva at the time that the "makeshift lighting" of the Monte Carlo scenes proved more becoming to her than the harsher lights of the studio, where "our little cameraman is inexperienced."

Dietrich helped ensure her character's glamour by working with designer Jean Louis to create more than 10 chic costumes, which are very important because her clothes are one reason De Sica's character is attracted to her. She also corrected De Sica's appearance for the film, writing Riva that "His makeup is thick and pasty. . . . In America people will laugh at a man who looks made-up, men don't make up with grease in Hollywood. For color they have a water-soluble makeup which does not show. . . ."

Dietrich also wrote her daughter that, in the style of Italian movies of the day, the entire film was dubbed: "They more or less mouth their lines like we do when we shoot a song and the soundtrack is playing. They do a silent picture and concentrate on the expression and the eyes and say the words rather tonelessly." Later, in dubbing sessions, the dialogue is added with more expressive speech. "I should have been a silent film star or Italian to start with," wrote Dietrich. "They have an easy life."

Producer: Marcello Girosi
Director: Sam Taylor, Vittorio De Sica (uncredited)
Screenplay: Samuel A. Taylor, from the story by Marcello Girosi and Dino Risi
Art Direction: Gastone Medin
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno
Costume Design: Jean Louis
Original Music: Michael Emer, James F. Hanley, Renato Rascel
Cast: Marlene Dietrich (Maria de Crevecouer), Vittorio De Sica (Count Dino della Fiaba), Arthur O'Connell (Mr. Hinkley), Natalie Trundy (Jane Hinkley), Jane Rose (Mrs. Freeman).
C-102m. Letterboxed.

by Roger Fristoe
The Monte Carlo Story

The Monte Carlo Story

Marlene Dietrich accepted the invitation of her friend, renowned Italian actor-director Vittorio De Sica, to costar opposite him in United Artists' The Monte Carlo Story (1956). This romantic tale focuses on a love affair between two compulsive gamblers who maintain their resplendent images even while down on their luck. Maria Riva, Dietrich's daughter, writes in her 1992 biography Marlene Dietrich that her mother had great respect for De Sica as "the genius who had made The Bicycle Thief" (1948). It was understood that, although Sam Taylor was the official director of The Monte Carlo Story, De Sica also would have a hand in the direction. The bulk of the film was shot on location in Monte Carlo's actual hotels, casinos and restaurants, with only brief shooting later at a movie studio in Rome. Dietrich, an expert in matters of lighting and cinematography, wrote to Riva at the time that the "makeshift lighting" of the Monte Carlo scenes proved more becoming to her than the harsher lights of the studio, where "our little cameraman is inexperienced." Dietrich helped ensure her character's glamour by working with designer Jean Louis to create more than 10 chic costumes, which are very important because her clothes are one reason De Sica's character is attracted to her. She also corrected De Sica's appearance for the film, writing Riva that "His makeup is thick and pasty. . . . In America people will laugh at a man who looks made-up, men don't make up with grease in Hollywood. For color they have a water-soluble makeup which does not show. . . ." Dietrich also wrote her daughter that, in the style of Italian movies of the day, the entire film was dubbed: "They more or less mouth their lines like we do when we shoot a song and the soundtrack is playing. They do a silent picture and concentrate on the expression and the eyes and say the words rather tonelessly." Later, in dubbing sessions, the dialogue is added with more expressive speech. "I should have been a silent film star or Italian to start with," wrote Dietrich. "They have an easy life." Producer: Marcello Girosi Director: Sam Taylor, Vittorio De Sica (uncredited) Screenplay: Samuel A. Taylor, from the story by Marcello Girosi and Dino Risi Art Direction: Gastone Medin Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno Costume Design: Jean Louis Original Music: Michael Emer, James F. Hanley, Renato Rascel Cast: Marlene Dietrich (Maria de Crevecouer), Vittorio De Sica (Count Dino della Fiaba), Arthur O'Connell (Mr. Hinkley), Natalie Trundy (Jane Hinkley), Jane Rose (Mrs. Freeman). C-102m. Letterboxed. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Marlene Dietrich's only Italian-made motion picture.

Notes

The main title on the print viewed was spelled The Montecarlo Story. However, the Copyright Office lists the title as The Monte Carlo Story, as do reviews. The onscreen credits indicate that the film was produced by "Tan Film for Titanus." Correspondence in the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library suggests that United Artists Corp., the film's distributor, had a financial investment in the production.
       The Monte Carlo Story was the first film to be shot in Technirama, which utilized an 8-perforation, horizontal, VistaVision-type negative, but introduced a slight anamorphic squeeze. When optically reduced to 35mm, a very high quality, CinemaScope-ratio image was achieved. Some contemporary sources erroneously list Universal's Night Passage (see below), as the first film shot in Technirama.
       According to the film's pressbook, many sequences in the film were shot in the famous casino and hotel in Monte Carlo and featured many of the actual employees, including the hotel's assistant director and the checkroom attendant, who appear in the film as themselves but whose names are not given. The picture marked the feature film debut of Natalie Trundy and the first American-produced picture of Italian film star Renato Rascel. It also marked the only film to be directed by playwright and screenwriter Samuel Taylor, who was credited onscreen as Samuel A. Taylor.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer August 1957

Technirama

Released in United States Summer August 1957