Countess From Hong Kong, A (1967)

“There’s no excuse for many things in this world.”

Synopsis:
When an ambassador (Marlon Brando) onboard a ship from Hong Kong to America finds a penniless and stateless stowaway countess (Sophie Loren) in his cabin, his friend (Sydney Chaplin) assists him in keeping her presence a secret — but what will happen when Brando’s wife (Tippi Hedren) shows up?

Genres:

Review:
Charlie Chaplin’s final film was considered a major disappointment by most: Bosley Crowther of the New York Times absolutely crushed it in his review, referring to it as a “numbingly archaic farce” which he would love to “pretend… never occurred”, while DVD Savant describes it as “sad and unfunny”, not to mention “depressing”. Chaplin’s screenplay was based on a story written for his former wife Paulette Goddard in the 1930s, and indeed, the narrative feels better suited to a different era. With that said, Loren does her best in the title role, and I don’t think the movie falls completely flat: it moves at a reasonable pace and keeps us guessing about what will happen next. None of that is to say it’s a very good or funny picture — which it’s not. But neither is it a complete disaster.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Sophia Loren as the Countess

Must See?
No, though I suppose it’s worth a look as a curiosity given its star power, both behind and in front of the camera. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.

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One Response to “Countess From Hong Kong, A (1967)”

  1. First (and last) viewing. Ugh. An almost-complete disaster.

    This may be one of the very few times that I’ll agree with something the very fussy Mr. Crowther said. Some films simply shouldn’t have been made. This is one of them. It’s bad. For – oh… way too many reasons.

    It’s not so much that Brando and Loren are bad. They’re professionals and they try to do what they’re called on to do. What they’re called on to do is godawful.

    Margaret Rutherford appears in a brief cameo, in which she’s given nothing to do particularly but it’s pleasant to see her – even if she’s mildly winging it. She was an immediate relief, midway.

    And, as the valet Hudson, Patrick Cargill (who I’m not that familiar with but I’ve seen him before) gets beaucoup kudos for taking a basically ‘nothing’ role and walking away with the film. He’s wonderful.

    This was listed as a cult movie???!! Oh God….. no. Nope. Why??? 😉

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