The Fortune Cookie/Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell
Gina Lollobrigida delivers a bright comic turn in Melvin Frank's farce concerning Carla, an Italian woman who, during World War II, had affairs with three American soldiers who served in the U.S. Army Air Force -- Phil Newman (Phil Silvers), Justin Young (Peter Lawford), and Walter Braddock (Telly Savalas). Finding that she is pregnant after the squadron is transferred, she convinces each of the three soldiers that he is the father of her child. Phil, Justin, and Walter react to Carla's pregnancy by sending her child-support checks -- checks that Carla has been receiving every month from each of them for the past 20 years. Meanwhile, in order to save face in her village, Carla concocted the story that the father was the fictitious Captain Eddie Campbell, who was killed in action. But Carla's deceptions are about to be exposed when she finds out that all three soldiers are returning to her village with their wives and children for a reunion of the squadron. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

The Fortune Cookie
The British title of Billy Wilder's classic comedy was Meet Whiplash Willie -- for, despite Jack Lemmon's star billing, the movie's driving force is Oscar-winning Walter Matthau as gloriously underhanded lawyer "Whiplash" Willie Gingrich. CBS cameraman Harry Hinkle (Lemmon) is injured when he is accidentally bulldozed by football player Luther "Boom Boom" Jackson (Ron Rich) during a Cleveland Browns game. Willie, Harry's brother-in-law, foresees an insurance-settlement bonanza, and he convinces Harry to pretend to be incapacitated by the accident. To insure his client's cooperation, Willie arranges for Harry's covetous ex-wife Sandy (Judi West) to feign a rekindling of their romance. Harry's conscience is plagued by the solicitous behavior of Boom Boom, who is so devastated at causing Harry's injury that he insists on waiting on the "cripple" hand and foot. Meanwhile, dishevelled private eye Purkey (Cliff Osmond) keeps Harry under constant surveillance, hoping to catch him moving around so the insurance company can avoid shelling out a fortune. Wilder and usual co-writer I.A.L. Diamond were at their most jaundiced and cynical here, even if, after a sardonic semiclimax, the last ten minutes succumb to the sentimentality that often marred Wilder's later movies. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Gina Lollobrigida
    Gina Lollobrigida - Carla Campbell
  • Shelley Winters
    Shelley Winters - Shirley Newman
  • Phil Silvers
    Phil Silvers - Phil Newman
  • Peter Lawford
    Peter Lawford - Justin Young
  • Telly Savalas
    Telly Savalas - Walter Braddock
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