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468 Ratings

The Barefoot Contessa

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
United States, Italy, 1954


Has-been director Harry Dawes gets a new lease on his career when independently wealthy Kirk Edwards hires him to write and direct a film.

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The Barefoot Contessa Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1955 | Winner: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

1955 | Nominee: Best Writing, Story and Screenplay

Writers Guild of America

1955 | Nominee: Best Written American Drama (Screen)

Golden Globes (USA)

1955 | Winner: Best Supporting Actor

Critics reviews

Of the three narrators, only Harry sees the frightened country girl beneath the layers of fantasy; they develop a warm, platonic friendship, and Mankiewicz can be forgiven for making his most compassionate, wise, and urbane character a writer/director by profession. What’s less forgivable is the tortured Cinderella metaphor that sinks his otherwise bristling screenplay.
February 13, 2017
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The Barefoot Contessa is only so-so as Hollywood satire, but the film’s withering portrait of how men misapprehend women identifies it more as tragedy than satire. When Maria strips to her bathing suit on a tycoon’s yacht, Mankiewicz frames it like a magazine ad—and then cuts to the leering crowd of men staring at her stupidly. In men’s eyes she has already been reduced to the cold, dead statue she is destined to become, and which they wanted all along.
September 13, 2014
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