Light in the Piazza (1962)
Director: Guy Green
Writers: Elizabeth Spencer (story) Julius J. Epstein (screenplay)
Olivia de Havilland…..Meg Johnson
Rossano Brazzi……….Signor Naccarelli
Yvette Mimieux………Clara Johnson
George Hamilton……..Fabrizio Naccarelli
Amidst the beautiful scenery of Florence, Olivia de Havilland and Yvette Mimieux star as mother and daughter in this tale of love and innocence. While enjoying drinks in a street café, young Clara Johnson runs off to inspect a plaque in the piazza. On her way, her hat blows off and into the path of the dashing Fabrizio. He chases it about the piazza, even after the wind stops blowing it around, much to the delight of the giggling Clara. There is an instant connection between the two young people, but Clara’s mother Meg is none too pleased about this Italian attaching himself to Clara.
Putting the encounter with Fabrizio behind her, Meg takes Clara on tours of all the museums and historic landmarks of Venice. However, Fabrizio seems to magically show up wherever they are. It sounds a bit stalkerish, but he doesn’t follow them all over. He simply receives phone calls from the concierge at the Johnson’s hotel about where they will be lunching each day. Anyways, Meg tries to push him away every time he shows up, yet he keeps on trying. Why would a mother try to push away such a handsome young Italian? Well, Meg reveals the big secret about Clara to her tutor and then you begin to see Clara in a whole new light.
The relationship that develops between Clara and Fabrizio is incredibly sweet and I always find myself hoping that Meg won’t reveal Clara’s secret to Fabrizio and his equally dashing father. One of my favorite moments in the movie occurs when Fabrizio shows up at the pool the Johnson’s are at. He chases Clara around until she becomes overexcited and is unable to stop laughing. Her mother says Clara will end up in tears, but Fabrizio simply cups her face in his hands and looks into her eyes and she is normal again. It’s a truly touching scene.
Clara’s secret continues to threaten the young lovers as Meg keeps telling herself that she must let the Naccarelli’s know. However, the more time she spends around them, the harder it becomes for her to reveal the truth. Even after seeing the movie as many times as I have, I still find myself wondering if she tells them about Clara. All I can say is that the last line of the movie is said by Meg: "I did the right thing. I know I did". I don’t want to give anymore of it away now, so check it out! I could go on and on about Light in the Piazza, but I’m afraid my motivation is gone. Until next time!