Carla (Gina Lollobrigida) has been living in the hillside town of San Forino, Italy for more than twenty years. The town is preparing to hold a reunion for the Air Force members stationed there during World War II. Her daughter “Gia,” (Janet Margolin) also in town, is excited at the prospect of meeting anyone who knew her late American father, Air Force captain “Eddie Campbell.” The problem: Eddie is a man invented by Carla to hide the fact that she doesn’t know who Gia’s father really is. It could be one of three servicemen she had sexual encounters with over a 10-day period during the war.
The three now-middle-aged Americans—Phil Newman, (Phil Silvers), Justin Young (Peter Lawford), and Walter Braddock (Telly Savalas)—each unaware of the other, have all been sending Carla money for twenty years, believing her letters that they are Gia’s father. Now, they are all in San Forino with their families, not just hoping to meet their daughter, but steal a few private moments with Carla.
Carla sets up dates with each of her former flames, but her plan is to ditch them. Her plan is foiled by her daughter’s insistence on staying in town. In several funny scenes, Carla try various methods to get rid of the three men who all show up at the same time. Eventually, the three fathers discover the ruse, their wives (Fritzie (Lee Grant), Lauren (Marian McCargo), and Shirley (Shelley Winters), find out their husbands have been allocating sizable amounts of money outside their family, and put together the pieces. Gia also discovers the deception and if that wasn’t bad enough, the married (but separated), older man Gia is involved with, wants her to move to Brazil with him.
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell is both funny and touching. The entire cast is excellent, each serving the story very well. Gina Lollobrigida, is particularly impressive, managing to humanize Carla in a way that makes the audience somewhat sympathetic towards her. This is no small task, considering the house of lies Carla has built. Telly Savalas, always a charismatic guy, is very engaging, lighting up every scene he’s in. There’s a wonderful scene where he’s dancing with his “daughter” that really resonates. A completely enjoyable experience, there’s little doubt that the 2008 hit Mama Mia! owes a debt of gratitude to Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell, and fans of the former will likely enjoy this comedic yarn.
Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, Kino’s 1080p transfer is a bit of a disappointment. It’s both grainy and soft, with only sporadic moments of high definition clarity. However, the color is bright and accurate throughout.
The DTS-HD mono soundtrack is fairly good. The dialogue is clean and clear, with no notable hisses or other audio issues.
There are no subtitles included.
The following extras are included:
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:57)
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