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Tea With Mussolini

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DVD

4.6 out of 5 stars 431 customer reviews

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(Apr 03, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

JOIN A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME CAST FOR SOME CULTURE, EXCITEMENT AND TEA, WITH THIS CHARMING AND PICTURESQUE DRAMA ABOUT A GROUP OF ECCENTRIC WOMEN WHO WILL LET NOTHING GET BETWEEN THEM AND THEIR CIVILIZED LIFESTYLE, EVEN WORLD WAR II. SPECIAL FEATURES: BEHIND-THE-SCENES BOOKLET AND THEATRICAL TRAILER.

Amazon.com

In filming this semi-autobiographical account of life in Italy during the dawn of World War II, director Franco Zeffirelli imbues Tea with Mussolini with the mixed blessings of fond reminiscence. It's a warmly inviting film, as impeccable as any Merchant-Ivory production, but like a hazy memory it's uncertain in its narrative intentions. And yet with an exceptional cast to compensate, the film's as engaging as it is inconsequential.

Zeffirelli's alter ego is Luca (Charlie Lucas in youth; Baird Wallace as a teenager), who is raised in Florence by Mary (Joan Plowright), the middle-aged secretary of his absentee father. Luca lives among a loose band of British and American women, nicknamed "Il Scorpioni" for their stinging wit in the shadows of Mussolini's thuggish dictatorship. Along with Mary there's Hester (Maggie Smith), a crusty ambassador's widow; Arabella (Judi Dench), a lively bohemian; lesbian archaeologist Georgie (Lily Tomlin); and Elsa (Cher), a flamboyant American who quietly finances Luca's education.

Il Scorpioni witness the rise of fascism and the dangers of resistance, weathering dictatorial custody and (in Elsa's case) falling prey to heartbreaking betrayal. But Tea with Mussolini carries little dramatic weight; you have to forgive its unfocused structure to appreciate its merits. Zeffirelli gently conveys the passage from pleasantry to wartime, and he's drawn uniformly fine performances from this seasoned cast. If the film is vaguely unsatisfying, it's only because it had the makings of greatness and settles instead for an ethereal quality of anecdotal enchantment. --Jeff Shannon


Special features

  • Behind-the-scenes booklet

Product details

  • Actors: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, Cher, Lily Tomlin
  • Directors: Franco Zeffirelli
  • Writers: Franco Zeffirelli, John Mortimer
  • Producers: Clive Parsons, Frederick Muller, Giovannella Zannoni, Marco Chimenz, Pippo Pisciotto
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 3, 2012
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 431 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 630560097X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,025 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Tea With Mussolini" on IMDb

Customer reviews

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on May 7, 2012
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