Film Flick: Three Coins in the Fountain

Monday, August 25, 2014

As the theatre lights fade out, we are treated to the crooning tones of Frank Sinatra as the cameras pan across the almost mythical sites of the Eternal City. Filmed in Cinescope, Three Coins in a Fountain  is a bit like taking  a holiday to Rome without the airfare. The film won best song and best cinematography, which is hardly any surprise. Three Coins was  filmed early in the "Hollywood on the Tiber" era when many a movie was shot on location in Rome- and, indeed, in Paris and other European landmarks- due to cheaper production costs following the war.

For all the praise the film received about the breathtaking sights captured on camera, people sometimes look down their nose at it's romantic story lines. The film comes from the same director as How to Marry a Millionaire, and has the same premise of three glamorous women in glamorous clothes living in a glamorous town as we follow their relationship escapades. Perhaps, for me,  it was that the expectations were set low, or perhaps the time between that movie and this one allowed director Jean Negulesco to see the wisdom behind not making the same mistakes twice, but the storyline was pleasantly surprising. These three secretaries in Rome all seem in such different places- one, a mature woman, has been in Rome the past fifteen years working for a famous novelist; while one is about to return to the states where romantic prospects are more plentiful; and one is fresh off the plane and wide eyed at the sophistication this metropolis holds. As the film opens, they stop by the famous Trevi Fountain  where two of the ladies follow the tradition of throwing a coin over their shoulders in a wish that they will return to Rome (for those wondering about the movie's title, the audience will later find out about that third coin). What really set them apart for me was the surprisingly sweet love stories which eschewed campiness for slightly darker and more complex story lines. I genuinely wasn't sure if all three girls would get a happy ending- or if it was as the song implied that "...just one wish will be granted; one heart will wear a valentine."
trevi fountain, coins, actresses, film, 1954,

If you have ever been to Rome, this will make you want to return and wander by those famous sites you once knew- to linger on the Spanish Steps or while away the hours in the Piazza Navona- and if you'd never been, you're sure to be daydreaming about the gelato, the palazzo, and maybe even about a latin lover of your own. But whether love comes true for you or not, just like the film's protagonists, you will not regret your time spent in this romanticized Rome with its picnics in family estates, nights at the opera, and time spent arguing over (surprisingly modern) art. So go on, and throw Three Coins in Fountain to ensure you will always return to Rome. 


  1. Wonderful review! It sounds like a beautiful film :)

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  2. I love the way you wrote this review- I was sucked in from the first line. And this came with perfect timing because I was saying just yesterday how I was in the mood to watch an old movie this week. This is perfect!

    xo marlen
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  3. What a brilliantly written review! Now I must see this film : )


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