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The Yellow Rolls-Royce

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Original title
The Yellow Rolls-Royce
Running time
122 min.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Terence Rattigan (Story: Terence Rattigan)
Riz Ortolani
Jack Hildyard
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Comedy. Drama. Romance | Comedy-Drama
Synopsis / Plot
Written by Terence Rattigan, The Yellow Rolls-Royce presented three stages in the life of the Rolls. We saw it first in a West End shop-window, where its impressive dignity and hypnotic appeal arrest the eye of Rex Harrison, an English peer and Secretary of State at the Foreign Office. He buys it as an anniversary present for his pretty French wife (Jeanne Moreau). At a vast and magnificent dinner party given by Rex we discover (but the husband does not) that Jeanne is having an affair with Edmund Purdom, a member of his Foreign Office staff At Ascot the next day Rex's horse wins the Gold Cup. In his excitement he looks for his wife and finds that she is not in the box. His frantic quest for her leads to the yellow Rolls-Royce, here Jeanne is found clasped in Edmund Purdom's ecstatic embrace. The marriage breaks up and Rex sells the Rolls-Royce. Also in the cast of that sequence are Moira Lister, Roland Culver, Michael Hordern, and Lance Percival.
The next sequence shows us the Rolls-Royce for sale in a shop-window in Genoa. An American gangster (George C Scott) buys it to take his moll (Shirley MacLaine, fair-haired and chewing gum) on a tour of Italy. At one of their stops, they meet a persistent Italian roadside photographer (Alain Delon) who pursues Shirley from town to town. Afraid of the gangster, she resists the photographer, but when George Scott leaves for America to bump off a rival, Shirley eludes the guard he left behind to keep an eye on her. The gangster's early and unexpected return reveals what has been going on in his absence. He sells the car.

The next time we see the Rolls is during the war and it looks pretty run down by then. Ingrid Bergman, a very determined American millionairess, in Trieste with her companion (Joyce Grenfell), is on her way to Yugoslavia where she has been invited as a guest of the royal family. Transport is unobtainable; but, determined to get there, Ingrid buys the shabby Rolls-Royce, and engages a chauffeur. As she is about to set out, Omar Sharif comes up and asks her to take him with her in the boot of the car. He is undaunted by her successive refusals and finally she submits and they set off together, Omar in the boot, as he is a partisan and is wanted by the Yugoslav authorities.
1965: Golden Globes: Best Original Song. Nominated for Best Motion Picture Score
1964: BAFTA Awards: Nominated to Best Cinematography (colour) and Costume Design
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