A STORY OF CIVILIZED DISOBEDIENCE.
Florence, 1935; Mary Wallace (Joan Plowright) takes care of an unloved boy and introduces him to a colorful group of expatriate British and American women called the Scorpioni. Franco Zeffirelli based this film on personal boyhood memories from World War II and tells the story of how the Scorpioni found it hard to believe that Mussolini would be dumb enough to drag Italy into war. Perhaps a social call could change his mind? A well staged, but not always compelling film, with good performances by Cher and Plowright; Maggie Smith delivers her acerbic lines with perfect timing.
1999-Italy-Britain. 117 min. Color. Story and direction by Franco Zeffirelli. Screenplay: John Mortimer. Cast: Cher (Elsa Morganthal Strauss-Armistan), Maggie Smith (Hester Random), Judi Dench (Arabella), Joan Plowright (Mary Wallace), Lily Tomlin, Baird Wallace.
Trivia: Vanessa Redgrave and Angela Lansbury were allegedly considered for roles.
BAFTA: Best Supporting Actress (Smith).