The Bobo (1967)
Rossano Brazzi as Carlos Matabosch
Adolfo Celi as Francisco Carbonell
Britt Eckland as Olimpia Segura
Kenneth Griffith as Pepe Gamazo
Hattie Jacques as Trinity Martinez
Alfredo Lettieri as Eugenio Gomez
Don Lurio as Ramon Gonzalez
Marne Maitland as Luis Castillo
Ferdy Mayne as Silvestre Flores
Peter Sellers as Juan Batista
John Wells as Pompadour Major Domo
Gus Agosti (assistant director)
David R. Schwartz
“The second picture I directed in which the two leading stars were not speaking to each other was called The Bobo. Peter Sellers was again the leading man and his wife, Britt Ekland, was the leading lady. The exteriors were shot in Barcelona and the interiors at Cinecittá Studio in Rome. After three weeks’ shooting in Rome, Peter called me aside and whispered, “I’m not coming back after lunch if that bitch is on the set.”
“Tell me which one and I’ll take care of it.”, I cringed. He had already had the script girl fired. I figured it was the make-up girl’s turn.
“The one over my left shoulder, in the white dress. Don’t look now,” he said and slinked away to charm the cast and crew.
The girl in the white dress was his wife and co-star, Britt. It was 11:15 am, but I told my assistant to call lunch while I scurried off to my office and called the producer in London. That’s where he produced from. He was much too clever to appear where the action was. I told him the expensive story: it would cost Warner Bros. about $71,428.57 per day if Sellers actually refused to show up.
“Don’t worry about it,” said my sympathetic producer. “I’ll fly down tomorrow.” I went to the Cinecittá commissary for lunch. The first thing I spotted was Peter and Britt, lunching together, cozy-cozy. As I passed their table, they raised their glasses to me.
They weren’t divorced until just after we finished shooting.”
Hollywood Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, by Robert Parrish, Little Brown & Co., 1988
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“I asked Rossano what it was like, starring in the same film, The Bobo, with the temperamental Peter Sellers. “I heard so many strange things about this man, but I found out he’s a decent person. When he finds he’s wrong, he says he’s sorry. His wife, Britt — he fired her before the picture started because she hadn’t studied the script very well — has the biggest part.”
Brazzi Defends Italian Men, Citizen News, 12/10/66, interview with Sheila Graham
This film didn’t meet with much success at the box office, but that had nothing to do with Rossano’s part in it — the normally very funny Peter Sellers apparently had pushed the project as a vehicle for his wife and lost interest in it when the marriage foundered — you can’t help but feel sorry for Rossano, stuck in the middle of this mess! (Although, judging by his comments to Sheila Graham, he was either (a) the world’s most lovable diplomat, or (b) otherwise occupied consoling the newly unemployed script girl … and we’re voting for the script girl, ourselves …)
He played Barcelonian bachelor and almost-Mazarati owner Carlos Matabosch, one of the few memorable characters in this drama — and we say that not because we’re Rossano Brazzi fans and are required to — but because the truth is he acted circles around the major stars in this film … next to their wooden, dull and lifeless performances, he comes across as the romantic and charming hero of the film, not Peter Sellers. Matabosch was supposed to be Sellers’ characters rival for the affections of Ekland’s (Olympia Segura), but, from the viewer’s point of view, it didn’t work that way — Sellers’ appeal is literally non-existant, and Rossano’s appeal is such that you wish for his character a better source of affection than Ekland’s “Olympia Segura”, she was such an unappealing character herself.
But the film is worth watching only because his scenes are so charming — recommendation: enjoy his appearances, and fast-forward through everything else.
Rossano Brazzi as Carlos Matabosch in The Bobo.
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