I have just seen the REMASTERED EDITION (from Warner Archives) of the recent DVD for LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA which came out a few months ago.
Olivia de Havilland is a worried mother travelling through scenic Italian locations with daughter Yvette Mimieux, who is mentally retarded. When a young Italian starts courting her daughter and showing up in the most unlikely places, de Havilland's predicament becomes apparent. Should she tell the truth or let her daughter marry the rather simple-minded Italian boy? It's a predicament that is nicely solved by the time we get to the fadeout with de Havilland declaring: "I did the right thing...I know I did."
Under Guy Green's direction, and photographed with gorgeous images of Italy's landmarks in Rome and Florence, the latest DVD transfer of "Light in the Piazza" is a sight to behold. And the intimate story of a mother's wish to find happiness for her daughter rather than giving in to the idea of shutting her away, is told with a good deal of humor and charm thanks to splendid performances from the stars and an intelligent script.
The Epstein brothers have given the screenplay some grace and humor--and de Havilland is superb as the doting mother. Rosanno Brazzi adds his brand of charm to the boy's father and there is a light touch of romance between him and de Havilland.
George Hamilton is surprisingly convincing and utterly charming as the smitten Italian youth, Yvette Mimieux shines as the girl and Barry Sullivan does what he can with the thankless role of her stubborn father who would rather see her placed in an institution. All of it is nicely photographed in Italian locales and in wide-screen Technicolor (see the letterbox version if you can).
This unappreciated film is a minor gem--poignant, touching and humorous. Olivia de Havilland, decked out in a Christian Dior wardrobe, is very attractive in one of her best mature roles. Her chemistry with Rossano Brazzi is so strong that you wish more had been made of the romantic feelings developing between them, but all of their scenes together are expertly played with fine nuances.
Like fine wine, it gets better with time.