I know I watched this, but I can’t really remember much about it. Which is such a shame because it stars Shirley MacLaine, features Peter Sellers, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Rossano Brazzi, and directed by Vittorio de Sica. Yet nothing much about it retains in the memory like de Sica’s other anthology sex comedy Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow. Maybe the difference there was that it had Sophia Loren riffing on the long-suffering housewife, bored rich girl, and earthy hooker personas that her filmography was made from? Or maybe the material was just stronger and her talents more attuned to the witty sex farce that was going on? Yeah, that seems more like it.
The degree of difficulty involved in playing one role successfully only increases when you have a limited amount of time to do it before starting all over again. Seven roles in one film is nearly impossible, unless you’re Peter Sellers. MacLaine hadn’t quite developed beyond her dippy, kooky persona yet, still green in effectively playing dramatic roles and too broad for finely done farce. The result is seven performances only half-formed, so the result just begins to be staring at MacLaine in various parts of France wearing different wigs and trying out a few accents. Many of these segments feel overly long at 14-16 minutes in length, which is yet another problem. It’s not all doom and gloom, a few jokes land, a couple of the segments have their moments, it’s fun guessing who will show up next. But it’s not a complete collection, and was clearly designed to be seen as an acting tour de force. Shame it didn’t turn out to be one.