Frank Marchione (Assistant Director)
David P. Harmon (Screenplay)
Doris Hume Kilburn (Novel)
Gabor Pogany, A.I.C.
Mario Capriotti (First Assistant Cameraman)
Cleofe Conversi (Assistant Film Editor)
Angelo F. Lavagnino
Franco Ferrara (Music Director)
Paul Baron (Theme Music, “Ravello”)
For Mss. Jones and Presle: Balestra
Tina Grani (Wardrobe)
Cars for Miss Presle and Mr. Brazzi courtesy Fiat
Paul Baron(Executive Producer)
Harvey Hayutin (Executive Producer)
Steve Barclay (Associate Producer)
Averone Stefani (Production Assistant)
Pasquale Ferri (Production Assistant)
The only tape we’ve found available is in Italian, without subtitles, so even if you don’t speak a word of Italian, there is at least one advantage to watching this movie: you get to watch Rossano for two hours without worrying about unimportant things like plots, or dialog! Amazingly enough, though, if you’re a reasonably proficient lip-reader, you’re in luck. This film was shot in Italy (Salerno), the dialog was done in English; then dubbed into Italian. Rossano, of course, dubbed his own voice (this means you watch his mouth move in English while hearing his voice speak Italian!) Very disconcerting …
But if you’re not a lip-reader, you’ll follow along anyway … Shirley Jones plays Karen, secretary to a classical art scholar. The two of them arrive in Salerno to research classical statues and are guests at the estate of one Count Paolo Barbarelli … (did it ever occur to anyone that Rossano has played more counts than there may actually BE, in Italy? Has anyone ever questioned this? But we digress …) Karen immediately falls madly in love with the Count … (who wouldn’t?) … and their whirlwind romance (and we do mean whirlwind’ — one dinner date) is only marred by the appearance in a restaurant of an elderly couple who insist they’ve seen the Count elsewhere recently with his wife. The Count insists they have not, since his wife has died. They insist they have. An argument breaks out. He leaves the restaurant, really ticked off and drives them both back home to the estate … (actually, he stomps on the accelerator, screeches around curves in the road on two wheels and glowers menacingly – yet attractively! – a prime candidate for a good dose of Prozac.)
Now after this, you’d think Karen would think twice about falling in love with THIS emotional hothead, but, like the rest of us, she’d forgive him anything after just one smile. Besides he apologizes so charmingly for his hotheaded behavior the night before … hell, WE even trusted him after that, and we know how the movie ends. He takes her on a shopping tour of Salerno, they confess their love for each other and fireworks go off in the sky … (gee, where have we seen that before?) Oh yeah, the Count also has to dump his girlfriend. Once the girlfriend is dumped and he’s gotten over his temper tantrum, NOW the only bar to their happiness is Cora, the strange, wide-eyed girl wandering around upstairs, mad as a hatter. He introduces her as his daughter … even though Cora is behaving somewhat more … affectionately … with dear Papa than you might expect of a daughter … smooching on him like a lover, for instance. We might have begun to suspect that Rossano is not being entirely truthful about this woman, but, like Shirley, we are blinded into abject stupidity by love and aren’t thinking clearly at all. So, OK, she’s his daughter. We’ll buy that.
The story begins to unravel when Cora’s addled memory banks reassert themselves. She announces that Paolo isn’t her father at all – he’s her husband!! (Well, that would certainly explain a few of those un-daughterly kisses she keeps giving him, wouldn’t it?) Paolo heatedly denies this, and Cora solves this dilemma by conveniently throwing herself off the cliff on the estate and dying … though it isn’t long before Karen stumbles across evidence that breaks her – and our – hearts: as much as she doesn’t want to (and we sure don’t want to, either!), she begins to suspect that the man she loves may have just offed his wife. NO! Not Rossano!
But, alas, yes, it seems that he has … and like Karen, we’re completely devastated by this news. Unfortunately, Paolo now knows that SHE knows he’s guilty and promptly locks her up in his bedroom, guarded by his vicious dog. Ooooh. Karen manages to escape out a window and the chase is on, through the estate …!
Does Karen escape? Does Paolo manage to look gorgeous and well-groomed (and intriguing) while chasing her around the grounds with an evil glint in his eye? Of course he does – this is Rossano Brazzi we’re talking about!
From the BRAZZI! newsletter, December 1995
Rossano Brazzi and Shirley Jones in Dark Purpose/L’intrigo, Lobby card, © 1964 by Universal Pictures.
(Above) On the set of Dark Purpose. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures. The text on the reverse of the photo reads: “The camera crew rehearses a scene with Rossano Brazzi and Shirley Jones in the courtyard of an ancient Italian villa for “Dark Purpose”, starring Miss Jones, Brazzi and George Sanders, a Brazzi-Barclay-Hayutin production in technicolor for Universal release.”
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