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HISTORY

Voice-over narration, spoken by Silvano Mangano as her character, “Giovanna Masetti,” is heard intermittently throughout the film. An American-Italian co-production, the film was shot entirely in Venice and Rome, Italy. According to reviews, dialogue in the picture, including Silvana Mangano’s, was dubbed. Some of the actors, including Shelley Winters, dubbed their own voices. The film was released in Rome with a running time of 110 minutes, sixteen minutes longer than the U.S. release. No editor was credited on the viewed print. HR production charts list Renzo Lucidi as editor, while the Var review credits Adriana Novelli. According to an Apr 1954 HR item, director Robert Rossen worked with producer Dino De Laurentiis and editor Ralph Kemplen on the film, but Kemplen is not credited in any other source, and his contribution to the final film, if any, has not been determined.
       De Laurentiis and Mangano, and Winters and Vittorio Gassman, were married at the time of production. Winters and Gassman divorced soon after, however. Mambo marked Mangano’s first American co-production. In 1948, Mangano appeared with Gassman in Riso amaro ( Bitter Rice ), an Italian film that made her an international star, and in the 1951 Italian picture Anna .
       According to studio publicity materials, prominent African-American choreographer Katherine Dunham taught Mangano how to dance for the production. At the time of the picture’s release, the mambo was a very popular dance, and the Rosemary Clooney song “Mambo Italiano” was a hit. Although an Apr 1954 HR news ... More Less

Voice-over narration, spoken by Silvano Mangano as her character, “Giovanna Masetti,” is heard intermittently throughout the film. An American-Italian co-production, the film was shot entirely in Venice and Rome, Italy. According to reviews, dialogue in the picture, including Silvana Mangano’s, was dubbed. Some of the actors, including Shelley Winters, dubbed their own voices. The film was released in Rome with a running time of 110 minutes, sixteen minutes longer than the U.S. release. No editor was credited on the viewed print. HR production charts list Renzo Lucidi as editor, while the Var review credits Adriana Novelli. According to an Apr 1954 HR item, director Robert Rossen worked with producer Dino De Laurentiis and editor Ralph Kemplen on the film, but Kemplen is not credited in any other source, and his contribution to the final film, if any, has not been determined.
       De Laurentiis and Mangano, and Winters and Vittorio Gassman, were married at the time of production. Winters and Gassman divorced soon after, however. Mambo marked Mangano’s first American co-production. In 1948, Mangano appeared with Gassman in Riso amaro ( Bitter Rice ), an Italian film that made her an international star, and in the 1951 Italian picture Anna .
       According to studio publicity materials, prominent African-American choreographer Katherine Dunham taught Mangano how to dance for the production. At the time of the picture’s release, the mambo was a very popular dance, and the Rosemary Clooney song “Mambo Italiano” was a hit. Although an Apr 1954 HR news item includes Charles Fawcett in the cast, his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. In Nov 1954, in response to a complaint filed by M-G-M, the MPAA ruled that the title Mambo was not in conflict with the title of M-G-M’s 1953 release Mogambo .
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Apr 1955.
---
Daily Variety
24 Nov 1954.
---
Film Daily
14 Apr 55
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 1954
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 1954
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 55
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1955.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
2 Apr 55
p. 387.
New York Times
28 Feb 1954.
---
New York Times
31 Mar 55
p. 23.
Variety
24 Nov 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Story and scr
Story and scr
Story and scr
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
DANCE
PRODUCTION MISC
Gen mgr
SOURCES
SONGS
"New Love New Wine," "Back to Bahia," "It Wasn't the Red Wine" and "Boogie in Brazil," music by Bernard Noriega and David Gilbert, lyrics by Katherine Dunham.
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1955
Premiere Information:
Rome, Italy release: 23 November 1954
New York opening: 30 March 1955
Production Date:
mid January--mid April 1954 at Ponti-De Laurentiis Studios, Rome
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
13 November 1954
Copyright Number:
LP4586
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
94 or 110
Length(in reels):
10
Countries:
Italy, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17235
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Just before she is return to her home in Venice, Italy, dancer Giovanna Masetti recalls the experiences of the previous year and how she came to join a dance troupe headed by the hard-driving Tony Burns: In Venice, Giovanna, a poor salesgirl in a glass-blowing shop, is offered a better paying position in Rome and consults with her boyfriend, Mario Rossi, about accepting it. The selfish Mario, a black marketeer, convinces Giovanna not to take the job, even though it would allow her to escape her drunken father and the oppressive poverty in which she and her younger sister live. Soon after, while waiting for Mario to inquire about employment at a casino, Giovanna watches a rehearsal of Tony Burns’s dance company and runs into Enrico Marisoni, a count she recently met at the glass shop. Taken with Giovanna, Enrico invites her and Mario, who was turned down at the casino, to an upcoming masquerade ball. Mario declines the offer but encourages Giovanna to attend. Giovanna drinks too much at the ball and impulsively dances the mambo, to the delight of Tony, who is there with her troupe. Enrico then corners Giovanna and, grabbing her passionately, offers to “buy” her from Mario. Although Giovanna is humiliated by Enrico’s crassness, she cannot get away from his aggressive advances until early the next morning. Outside, Tony comforts Giovanna and offers to help her start a dancing career. Giovanna is at first reluctant, but when Mario tells her she has no talent and slaps her, she decides to join the troupe to spite him and goes to Rome. There, Tony puts ... +


Just before she is return to her home in Venice, Italy, dancer Giovanna Masetti recalls the experiences of the previous year and how she came to join a dance troupe headed by the hard-driving Tony Burns: In Venice, Giovanna, a poor salesgirl in a glass-blowing shop, is offered a better paying position in Rome and consults with her boyfriend, Mario Rossi, about accepting it. The selfish Mario, a black marketeer, convinces Giovanna not to take the job, even though it would allow her to escape her drunken father and the oppressive poverty in which she and her younger sister live. Soon after, while waiting for Mario to inquire about employment at a casino, Giovanna watches a rehearsal of Tony Burns’s dance company and runs into Enrico Marisoni, a count she recently met at the glass shop. Taken with Giovanna, Enrico invites her and Mario, who was turned down at the casino, to an upcoming masquerade ball. Mario declines the offer but encourages Giovanna to attend. Giovanna drinks too much at the ball and impulsively dances the mambo, to the delight of Tony, who is there with her troupe. Enrico then corners Giovanna and, grabbing her passionately, offers to “buy” her from Mario. Although Giovanna is humiliated by Enrico’s crassness, she cannot get away from his aggressive advances until early the next morning. Outside, Tony comforts Giovanna and offers to help her start a dancing career. Giovanna is at first reluctant, but when Mario tells her she has no talent and slaps her, she decides to join the troupe to spite him and goes to Rome. There, Tony puts Giovanna under the direction of American choreographer Katherine Dunham, who works tirelessly to teach Giovanna the basics of dancing and singing. After months of exhausting work, Giovanna is ready to perform, and Tony, whose own dancing career went nowhere, eagerly anticipates their arrival in Venice. Back in the present, Giovanna’s debut in Venice is a smash, and she receives flowers from Enrico and a backstage visit from Mario. During a post-show party at a nightclub, Giovanni ignores Enrico and goes home with Mario. Later, Mario, who is now working as a croupier at the casino, shows up at Giovanna’s rehearsal and fights with Tony, who fears he will ruin her protegée. In an attempt to separate Giovanna and Mario, Tony informs Giovanna that the troupe is leaving Venice that night, but Giovanna refuses to go. When Giovanna shows up with Mario to retrieve her luggage, Tony tries to change her mind, to no avail. Distraught, Tony runs into a parking garage to get her car and is struck and killed by another motorist. Giovanna and Mario move in together, and one day, Giovanna meets the still-enamored Enrico on the street. Enrico proposes marriage, but Giovanna insists she is happy with Mario. That night, Enrico shows up at Mario’s casino and wins a large sum at his baccarat table. When Giovanna arrives, Enrico becomes distracted and cuts his hand on a glass. Although the wound is minor, Enrico asks Giovanna to play for him and leaves abruptly. Giovanna continues Enrico’s winning streak, but when Mario breaks the casino’s rules and advises her to bet only half of her money, she feels compelled to wager everything and loses. Mario’s supervisor witnesses the exchange and later summons Mario to his office. While waiting to speak to his boss, Mario learns from another croupier that Enrico has hemophilia and is expected to die young. Mario is fired, and later, after a period of fruitless job searching, he tells Giovanna about Enrico’s condition and suggests she marry him for his money. At first, Giovanna is outraged by Mario’s suggestion but, finally realizing she has no other prospects, bitterly agrees to the plan. Enrico and Giovanna marry and move into Enrico’s palatial house in Venice, which they share with Enrico’s disapproving mother, Dona Luisa. Soon after, Giovanna becomes restless and tries to telephone Mario, but is stopped by Dona Luisa, who accuses her of gold-digging. Filled with doubt, Giovanna visits Mario and informs him she does not want to see him behind Enrico’s back. Giovanna then tells Enrico that they must leave Venice to escape his mother’s domination, and the couple moves to Rome. There, Enrico and Giovanna finally find happiness together and, after three months, return to Venice for Enrico’s sister’s wedding. Outside the Marisoni house, Giovanna is accosted by Mario, who has been trying to contact her for months. Mario threatens to expose Giovanna to Enrico, but just then, Enrico appears and insists on taking Mario for a ride in his new speedboat. After a wild ride through the canals of Venice, Mario and Enrico fight, and Mario knocks Enrico out. Enrico’s mouth is cut, and although Giovanna calls for help, he soon dies. Later, Giovanna learns that she has inherited Enrico’s estate, but refuses to accept his money. Instead, she returns to Tony’s troupe, hoping to find “peace and happiness” in the mambo.



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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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