It Started in Naples (1960)
Release date: August 7, 1960
Directed by: Michael Shavelson
Vittorio De Sica
Limited Availability on DVD
Clark is Mike Hamilton, a Philadelphia lawyer who travels to Rome to settle the estate of his estranged brother who had drowned. He is shocked to learn that he has a nephew–an impressionable, unruly eight-year-old boy named Nando (Marietto), who is being cared for by his mother’s sister, Lucia (Loren). At first Mike tries to give Lucia some money and head back to America, but as he gets to know Lucia and Nando, he decides to stick around. Lucia works as a maid and cook during the day and as a nightclub singer at night. Nando doesn’t attend school and roams the streets barefoot, passing out nightclub flyers and smoking cigarettes. Mike decides Nando would be better off in America with him, a decision not welcomed by Lucia. After his lawyer suggests to both of them that they “make nice” to settle the matter out of court, they fall in love.
“This is bella Napoli–beautiful Naples. I was here once before, with the Fifth Army during the War. The Neapolitans cheered us all the way from the beach. Half an hour later they were selling our gasoline on the black market. And those kids on the street–scrounging cigarettes, swiping K rations–for a while in this town, Spam took the place of spaghetti. I’m just coming back to settle my brother’s estate–with any luck I’ll be out of here without even drinking the water!” first lines, narration
“My brother was a lazy, irresponsible, no good so-and-so, in any sense of the word. Unless he changed a lot in the last few years.”
“What kind of a runaround am I getting here from all of you?”
“Five thousand miles to meet Pinocchio!”
“Would you please stop crying, baby–not at twelve dollars a minute!”
“When a man’s been a bachelor as long as I have, marriage is not a convenience or a necessity–it’s just a means of reducing the tax rate.”
“This place certainly had every nationality and every sex, including some I’ve never heard of.”
“I’m trying to get a home and an education for a kid I happened to like and the whole Roman empire is falling on me!”
“Time can be a very important thing. Sometimes on a little island like this we forget about it. But forgetting about it isn’t going to stop it–pretty soon we’re an old waiter, an old carriage driver, or an old Neapolitan singer with an old guitar singing.”
“You have to approach a hamburger with assurance. If you show it that you’re frightened, you’ll wind up with a shirt full of mustard.”
“You know, every time I meet you you’re a different girl–a dancer, a queen, a housewife, a churchgoer–I can’t tell which kind of girl you really are.”
“You know, I finally understand what my brother was all about–no worries, no cares, no ties, no strings–all for fun! Even the grapes are free!”
“I just want you to know our next rendezvous will be in a courtroom! Good bye!”
“You’re not supposed to be open minded; you’re supposed to be my lawyer!”
“You can ring that bell ’til the cows come home but I’m going to speak my peace.”
“I’ve been a selfish man all my life so I understand many things. Why can’t we both be unselfish for once?”
“Nothing’s true in this cockeyed world.”
“Hey! Anybody here help me get this tie off?” last line
Behind the Scenes:
Clark was hesitant to take the role as he felt that he was far too old to be romancing the twenty-five-year-old Sophia Loren. The producers convinced him by showing him a film she had made with Cary Grant the year before, Houseboat. Clark liked the film and since Loren seemed to have chemistry with Grant, one of Clark’s contemporaries, he agreed to do It Started in Naples.
Kay and the children accompanied Clark on the location shoot. They sailed to Europe from New York in July 1959 and spent time in Holland. England, France and Austria before arriving in Rome.
While in production, the title was “Bay of Naples.”
Loren had to be snuck back into her native Italy, as her and husband Carlo Ponti were being persecuted for being illegally married in Mexico. Clark helped sneak Ponti onto the set for Loren’s birthday celebration.
Eating pasta during the shoot caught up with Clark and by the time the film wrapped he weighed over 230lbs, a lifetime high.
Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction. Also nominated for two Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture Comedy and Sophia Loren for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.