Just for the record, this may be a chick flick, although back in the fifties, especially in Italy the term was not coined yet, but it beats the hell out of most chick flicks around today. That is because of that old fashioned charm that even Italian chick flicks had in the past. Yes, a film like this would have been regarded as commercial back then, looking for a target audience that was as young as the main female characters, but it is still remarkable to see a cultural context given such importance, and the setting of Rome, as usual, becoming as strong as if it were one of the characters.
The three girls from Piazza di Spagna are young working class girls who dream and fall in love, and in love seek escape and reassurance. Although it is a romance, and pretty much feels like a soap opera, the film has some golden moments of dialogue, thanks again to the setting of Rome that always gives a sort of wittiness to the character’s dialogues and gems, that among them hold one of the first cinematic roles of Marcello Mastroianni, so young and dubbed by another Italian comedy great, Nino Manfredi. The plot avoids surprises, but just like one of the ‘romanzo’ that the girls read, it as that ability to keep us watching and hold our attention pretty much from the beginning, perhaps not in a deeply emotional and intellectual way, but it still does. I must say that although the narrator’s role becomes almost poetic in the end, as he says goodbye in a melancholic tone to the girls of Piazza di Spagna, I couldn’t help but wonder how he would know most of the things he seemed to know, as he was the one telling the story of the girls.
The girls are three, meaning that the plots are three. Unfortunately, they do not all seem equal in quality, in fact there is one that is weaker, and that is Lucia’s one, whereas predictably, Lucia Bosé’s is the most glamorous, Bose being the star of the movie in the first place. I would also like to highlight a laid back performance in the character of Augusto by Renato Salvatore, who is the ultimate and underrated working class playboy of Italian comedic cinema set in Rome.
WATCH FOR THE MOMENT – The part where Mastroianni and Bonfatti trail the car Bose got on, because Bonfatti is worried as her fantasy starts picturing Bose in the dramatic situations of the kins that she reads in the weekly romance novels.