Three Coins in the Fountain


1h 42m 1954
Three Coins in the Fountain

Brief Synopsis

Three American roommates working in Italy wish for the man of their dreams after throwing coins into a fountain.

Film Details

Also Known As
There's No Place Like Rome, We Believe in Love
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
May 1954
Premiere Information
New York opening: 20 May 1954
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Rome, Italy; Venice, Italy; Merano,Italy; Rome,Italy; Venice,Italy
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Three Coins in the Fountain by John H. Secondari (Philadelphia, 1952).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System), Stereo
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1
Film Length
9,158ft (12 reels)

Synopsis

In the early 1950s, young American secretary Maria Williams arrives in Rome to work at the U.S. Distribution Agency. She is greeted by Anita Hutchins, who she is replacing at the agency, and taken to the villa Anita shares with Miss Frances, the longtime secretary of noted American expatriate author John Frederick Shadwell. The three women then drive into town and along the way, stop at the famous Trevi Fountain. Frances and Anita relate the legend that if Maria throws a coin in the fountain and makes a wish to return to Rome, she will. Maria wishes to remain in Rome for a year, while Frances wishes for another year of contentment. Anita, who is returning to the U.S. to marry, declines to make a wish. While Frances then goes to Shadwell's lavish villa, Anita takes Maria to the agency and introduces her to their boss, Mr. Burgoyne. Anita also introduces Maria to Giorgio Bianchi, a translator, and although Maria senses that Anita and Giorgio are attracted to one another, Anita states that the agency forbids its American and Italian employees to fraternize. At a party that evening, Maria is dazzled by the handsome Prince Dino di Cessi, despite Frances and Anita's warning that he is a notorious womanizer, whose girl friends become known as "Venice girls" after he takes them to Venice for romantic rendezvouses. Dino charms Maria and tells her to ignore the bad things she has heard about him, and later, as Anita and Maria walk home, Anita admits that she has no fiancé but hopes to have a better chance of finding a husband in America. Anita explains that wealthy Italian men are not interested in mere secretaries, and that the men who are interested in them are too poor to marry. As they are walking, the women are pestered by several men and are rescued from their pursuers by Giorgio, who then asks Anita to go with him the next day to his family's country farm to attend a celebration. Anita reluctantly agrees, although she will be breaking agency rules, and the next morning, Giorgio picks her up in his cousin's delapitated truck. On their way out of town, they are spotted by Burgoyne and his wife, who are suspicious about their being together. Back at the apartment, Dino calls for Maria and asks if she will accompany him to Venice, and Maria, who desires to see Venice but not lose Dino's respect, arranges for Frances to chaperon them. On Giorgio's family farm, Giorgio tells Anita that he hopes to become a lawyer, despite his poverty. Anita then climbs into the brake-less truck and is almost killed, and after Giorgio rescues her, the breathless couple gives into their attraction and kisses. On Monday, Burgoyne questions Maria about Anita's weekend with Giorgio, and although she maintains that Anita did nothing wrong, Maria tells Burgoyne that Anita is not really engaged, and Burgoyne assumes that she is having an illicit affair with Giorgio. Mrs. Burgoyne tries to calm her husband that night, telling him "even nice girls are human," but the next morning, Burgoyne fires Giorgio. When she finds out, Anita yells at Maria for betraying her confidences and insists on moving out of their apartment until she leaves Italy. Anita then visits Giorgio, who does not regret their time together, although Anita is distraught that she may have ruined his chances of becoming a lawyer. Giorgio, who wants to marry Anita, ruefully wishes that he could propose, and Anita tells him the truth about her "fiancé." Meanwhile, desperate to help, Maria asks Frances to persuade Shadwell to help to restore Giorgio's job, after which Frances coaches Maria on art terms, and Maria intrigues Dino with her supposed deep love of modern art. Marie lies, telling Dino that she is three-quarters Italian, and then systematically gathers information about his likes and dislikes. Beguiled by how much he apparently has in common with Maria, Dino introduces her to his mother, the Principessa, who expresses her approval. Dino then confides in Maria that she is the only girl friend who he has ever completely trusted, and the heartsick Maria confesses her subterfuge, even showing Dino the dossiér she has compiled on him. Later, Frances meets with Anita, who admits that she and Giorgio are in love but have decided not to marry because he is too poor to support a family and continue his studies. Frances then goes home to comfort the guilt-stricken Maria, who is also determined to leave Rome because Dino has not contacted her since her admission. Frances states that she is glad she is no longer young and susceptible to romance, but the next morning, suddenly announces to Shadwell that she is returning to the U.S. Shadwell is bewildered, and Frances explains that she does not want to wind up an old maid in a foreign country. Shadwell, unaware that Frances has been deeply in love with him for fifteen years, offers her a marriage of convenience, based on mutual respect, and, eager to be with him under any circumstances, Frances accepts. Anita and Maria, who have reconciled, are thrilled by Frances' news, but the next day, unknown to Frances, Shadwell learns that he is terminally ill and has less than a year to live unless he goes to America for experimental treatment. When Shadwell returns to his villa, he coldly tells Frances that he made a mistake and releases her from their engagement, telling her that he will be leaving for Capri immediately. After Shadwell leaves, Frances receives a call from his doctor and learns the truth, then follows Shadwell to a café, where she proceeds to match him drink for drink while bickering about whether he should pursue treatment. Completely drunk, Frances climbs into a nearby fountain and sobs about her life and the predicaments of her friends, and after Shadwell takes her back to the villa and tucks her in, he goes to see Dino. At the di Cessi palace, Shadwell tells Dino that he is leaving tomorrow for the U.S., where he will marry Frances, and uses reverse psychology to provoke Dino into realizing that he loves Maria. Shadwell then visits Burgoyne, and the next day, after Anita and Maria are packed and ready to leave, Frances telephones and asks to meet them at the Trevi Fountain. Upon their arrival, Maria and Anita are dismayed to see that the fountain has been emptied for cleaning and Maria declares that it is a fraud. After Frances joins them, however, the water springs up again and the women are thrilled by its beauty. Dino and Giorgio then arrive, and as the men embrace their ecstatic girl friends, Frances is joined by Shadwell, and they happily admire the fountain, which has proved lucky after all.

Film Details

Also Known As
There's No Place Like Rome, We Believe in Love
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
May 1954
Premiere Information
New York opening: 20 May 1954
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Rome, Italy; Venice, Italy; Merano,Italy; Rome,Italy; Venice,Italy
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Three Coins in the Fountain by John H. Secondari (Philadelphia, 1952).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System), Stereo
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1
Film Length
9,158ft (12 reels)

Award Wins

Best Cinematography

1954

Best Song

1954

Award Nominations

Best Picture

1954

Articles

Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) - Three Coins in the Fountain


"You've Never Lived Until You've Loved in Rome!" promised the tagline for Three Coins in the Fountain (1954). It was one of many films that were shot in Italy after World War II, when Italy became trendy. Actresses like Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani and Alida Valli were popular, as were Italian songs, especially sung by Dean Martin. Like Summertime (1955), revolved around American women who go to Italy and find romance, but unlike Summertime the romances were more successful.

Directed by Jean Negulesco, Three Coins in the Fountain was based on the novel Coins in the Fountain by John Seconardi, with the screenplay adapted by John Patrick. The stars were some of 20th Century-Fox's biggest in 1954: Jean Peters, Dorothy McGuire, Rossano Brazzi (who had also starred in Summertime), Louis Jourdan, Maggie McNamara and Clifton Webb, who had been a star at Fox since his breakout role in Laura (1944). Webb played a waspish author whose secretary of 15 years, McGuire, is secretly in love with him. McNamara and Peters play American women working for the US government in Italy who meet and fall in love with translator Brazzi and playboy prince Louis Jourdan. Along the way are misunderstandings, a potentially terminal illness, forbidden love and all the other things that still make for a women's picture.

The film got its title from the legend that throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain will ensure that you will return to Rome. Three Coins in the Fountain was actually filmed in Technicolor and Cinemascope on location at various spots around Italy, like the Trevi Fountain in Rome, the Dolomite Mountains and Venice, with interiors done at Cinecitta Film Studios in Rome. Director Negulesco and producer Sol Siegel were advised by Fox executives not to shoot in these formats in Italy, which they felt would not be able to support them, technically. Rather than give up, they simply brought Fox's entire Technicolor/Cinemascope crew to Italy, with successful results.

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards™ and won two: the title track, written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, which was a hit for Frank Sinatra, and Best Cinematography (Color) for Milton Krasner. It lost the Best Picture nomination to On the Waterfront at the 27th Academy Awards ceremony.

For Jean Peters, who had been involved with Howard Hughes off and on for years, the film gave her the opportunity to meet her future husband, oilman Stuart Cramer III, when they had a mix-up with their luggage at the Rome airport. The marriage only lasted a year and Peters returned to Hughes, who she married in 1957. Louis Jourdan might not have been given the chance to flex his acting muscles in Three Coins in the Fountain, but his work in this film led to him winning the part of Gaston in Gigi (1958), arguably his best role.

Three Coins in the Fountain was beautifully shot, but essentially a soap opera, a fact that did not escape New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, who wrote, "There's no point in probing the techniques of all these predatory dames, especially those of Miss McNamara, who is a bit of an absolute fraud. John Patrick, who wrote the screenplay from a novel by John H. Secondari, was more concerned with humor than he was with veracity. And so the jokes are limpid, the plot is entirely contrived and the logic is minus zero. The whole thing is as slick as Cellophane."

by Lorraine LoBianco

SOURCES:
Crowther, Bosley "Three Coins in the Fountain'; Eternal City Glows in Film at the Roxy CinemaScope and Stars Offset Light Story" The New York Times 21 May 54
The Internet Movie Database
monsieurlouisjourdan.net
Mosby, Aline "Jean Peters Won't Stay in Movie Colony" Greensburg Daily Tribune 3 Nov 54.

Three Coins In The Fountain (1954) - Three Coins In The Fountain

Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) - Three Coins in the Fountain

"You've Never Lived Until You've Loved in Rome!" promised the tagline for Three Coins in the Fountain (1954). It was one of many films that were shot in Italy after World War II, when Italy became trendy. Actresses like Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani and Alida Valli were popular, as were Italian songs, especially sung by Dean Martin. Like Summertime (1955),

Quotes

My husband declares that I was simply born to be a writer. He says if anyone just took a pencil and followed me around, they'd have a novel.
- Woman at Cocktail Party
My dear lady, I should be delighted to get behind you with a pencil.
- John Frederick Shadwell
Why can't women play the game properly? Everyone knows that in love affairs only the man has the right to lie!
- John Frederick Shadwell
These girls in love never realize that they should be honestly dishonest instead of being dishonestly honest.
- John Frederick Shadwell

Trivia

The first motion picture filmed in CinemaScope outside of the United States. Prior to beginning principle shooting, 20th Century Fox studio execs warned producer Siegel and director Negulesco that they would have a difficult time with the new film format away from the controlled settings of the studio. Siegel and Negulesco solved this dilemma by simply taking the studio's entire technical crew along to Rome.

Although the movie title refers to three coins only two coins are actually thrown into the fountain.

Notes

The working titles of this film were We Believe in Love and There's No Place Like Rome. Before the picture's opening credits, Frank Sinatra, who is uncredited, sings the title song over a montage of scenic shots of Italy and Rome's many fountains. The song, which became one of Sinatra's standards, was also a big hit for The Four Aces. According to March 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item, the picture was originally scheduled to be shot in black and white, and Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Tierney, Vittorio Gassman and Jeanne Crain were set to co-star with Clifton Webb and Louis Jourdan. An August 1953 Los Angeles Times article reported that Mirella Puelma, Miss Chile of 1952, was cast in the picture, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       According to news items and studio publicity, the majority of the film was shot on location in Rome, Venice and the village of Merano in Italy. Studio publicity noted that some interiors had to be shot at the Twentieth Century-Fox lot in Los Angeles, which offered better lighting. The film received Academy Awards for Best Cinematography (Color) and Best Song, and a nomination for Best Picture. In 1964, Fox produced another version of Secondari's book, entitled The Pleasure Seekers, directed by Jean Negulesco and starring Ann-Margret, Carol Lynley and Gene Tierney (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70). The 1964 version was set in Madrid rather than Rome.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring May 1954

First Cinemascope production to be shot on location.

CinemaScope

Released in United States Spring May 1954