More Than a Miracle [1967]

8/10 | 6.Jul.12
More Than a Miracle

DIRECTOR: Francesco Rosi  |  WRITERS: Tonino Guerra, Raffaele La Capria,  Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, Francesco Rosi  |  CAST: Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif, Dolores del Rio, Leslie French, Georges Wilson  |  Italy

A flying monk, a white stallion, a magical sack of flour, a 3000-egg omelet, palace floors covered with thousands of newly-hatched chicks, virgin-boy-urine cures, jousting tournaments, dishwashing contests, 17th century costumes with a mid-1960s-mod flair, an astoundingly awful theme song performed by the Roger Williams Orchestra and Chorus over and over and over again, Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif, Dolores del Rio for God’s sake! More Than a Miracle has been a guilty pleasure since I first saw it at the age of 11 or 12 and I’ve tried to catch it whenever I’ve noticed it scheduled on the teevee ever since. It’s ridiculous and not very good despite its name director (Francesco Rosi), but Sophia Loren is very, very funny and at the absolute peak of her Sophia Lorenitude and Omar Sharif is so impossibly goodlooking he could turn me gay with the flash of his smile. (If I were straight, that is.)

Despite what some of the movie guides say, Omar Sharif, Dolores Del Rio, Sophia Loren (most of the time), and many of the supporting cast were speaking English when they were filmed for this, so I would call it an English language film rather than an Italian language film dubbed into/subtitled in English. (That’s why I don’t refer to it as C’era una volta…, although it opened in Italy dubbed into Italian under that title two weeks before opening in English in the US with the title More Than a Miracle.) Occasionally Sophia Loren appears to be speaking in Italian but the audio track has her voice speaking the line in question in English. The incidental actors, especially the overacting-up-a-storm little boys, are clearly speaking in Italian but the voices on the audio track are of adult women doing the voices of cutesy, adorable cartoon fawns and bashful chipmunks and the like — real I-could-barf-this-is-so-kyooot stuff.  More Than a Miracle is really bad but I think it’s great.

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