The Yellow Rolls-Royce

  • 1964
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Romance

A three-episode film loosely tied together by the ownership of "the world's best automobile," or so the makers of Rolls-Royce claim. Literate, but essentially empty, it features an all-star cast that seems to be playing the wrong roles. French Moreau is a British aristocrat, American Scott plays an Italian, Middle Easterner Sharif is a Yugoslav, Swedish...read more

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A three-episode film loosely tied together by the ownership of "the world's best automobile," or so the makers of Rolls-Royce claim. Literate, but essentially empty, it features an all-star cast that seems to be playing the wrong roles. French Moreau is a British aristocrat, American

Scott plays an Italian, Middle Easterner Sharif is a Yugoslav, Swedish Bergman is an American, and Gallic Delan essays an Italian. The car of the title is the Phantom II, rare, exotic, and bright yellow. In the first segment, Moreau, Harrison, Purdom, and the others are featured. Harrison is a

peer of the realm who purchases the vehicle for his spouse, Moreau, and gives her the keys at an elegant dinner party celebrating their wedding anniversary. He doesn't know that she is having an affair with his assistant, Purdom. At the Ascot races, Lister, a pal of the couple, learns about the

lovers and tells Harrison. He catches them in the rear of the Rolls and is terribly hurt by the situation. But he blames the vehicle rather than Moreau and keeps his wife while he sells the car. The second section finds Scott, a big-time mobster, touring the old country (Italy) with his lover,

MacLaine, and his No. 1 henchman, Carney (in his movie debut). They encounter photographer Delon, who makes a pass a MacLaine. Scott returns to the US on business (he has to kill someone), and MacLaine and Delon begin an affair. Carney knows all about it and realizes that it's dangerous, but he

also knows that this fling might be good for MacLaine, so he keeps mum. When Scott's work is over, he comes back to Italy. He is immediately jealous of Delon and MacLaine, and MacLaine understands that Delon will die at Scott's hands if she doesn't take steps. To that end she pretends she no

longer cares for Delon, sends him away, and moves back into Scott's embrace and good graces. The Harrison-Moreau episode begins when the car is new, in the late 1920s. The MacLaine-Scott section takes place before the war in the gangster heyday of the 1930s. The last of the trio occurs just before

WW II engulfs the world. Bergman now owns the car. She's a rich US widow in Trieste and is about to visit the Yugoslavian capitol to attend a royal party. She is traveling with her frumpy companion, Grenfell, when she buys the car, intending to show it off when she gets to the party. The Nazis are

in the area and searching for Sharif, a patriotic Yugoslav. He wants to get across the border to safety and pleads with Bergman to help him. Bergman is at first reluctant but finally agrees. The Nazis attack the hotel where Bergman is staying, and the formerly passive woman decides that she can

tolerate them no longer. Bergman aids the guerrillas and Sharif. The pair has a night of lovemaking in the car, then Sharif tells her she must go home and inform the US of exactly what's going on in Europe. They part company, and Bergman returns to the US with Grenfell and a host of passionate

memories. A pleasant bit of entertainment, but the material that's supposed to be hilarious is only faintly amusing, and the dramatic sections aren't that dramatic. It was heavy on the production values and directed at a medium-brisk pace by Asquith. Carney's debut, after he had been asked to

appear in several movies, was cute but not anything special. Delon was a huge star in Europe and wanted to establish himself in the US, so he took far less of a fee to work in the movie than he usually received. His steamy scenes with MacLaine were excellent, and Delon hoped they would make him a

US favorite, but that didn't happen. This movie, shot on location in Italy, Austria, and England, boasted superior production credits and a cast that today would cost millions. Producer de Grunwald had earlier made another star-studded movie, THE V.I.P.S, which did somewhat better at the box

office.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A three-episode film loosely tied together by the ownership of "the world's best automobile," or so the makers of Rolls-Royce claim. Literate, but essentially empty, it features an all-star cast that seems to be playing the wrong roles. French Moreau is a… (more)

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