It Started in Naples is a 1960 romantic comedy, starring Clark Gable (it was his penultimate film, and the last of his films to be released during his lifetime) and a young Sophia Loren. Gable is Mike Hamilton, a lawyer from Philadelphia who has come to Naples to settle the estate of his deceased brother, who deserted his family ten years earlier. Upon arriving in Naples, Mike is stunned to discover that his brother had an eight year old son, who is currently being brought up by an aunt named Lucia (Loren). Mike dissaproves of Lucia’s bohemian upbringing of the boy Nando and thinks the boy would be better off brought up in America. However, he soon begins to fall for the beauty of the country, and the charms of Lucia…
I really enjoyed this film. Gable is terrific as Mike – some reviewers have said that the age difference between him and Loren spoiled the film, but as far as I could see, he definitely still had that twinkle in his eye, and I thought there was definite chemistry between them (although they did not get on terribly well off-screen).
Sophia Loren was – well! Talk about va-va-voom! She looked absolutely stunning, and played the part of Lucia brilliantly. Although she was flirty and fun-loving, it was easy to see that she genuinely cared about Nando.
The little boy himself was utterly charming – it’s no wonder that Mike also grows to love him.
The setting of the film is perfect – it was filmed on location in Italy, and is mainly set on the Isle of Capri, which looked beautiful, and definitely made me want to visit there (I wonder if it is as breath-taking over 50 years later?).
Plenty of humour is to be found in this film; the scenes that Gable played for laughs worked very well indeed, and it is really a perfect film to kick back and relax with. Definitely recommended.
Year of release: 1960
Director: Melville Shavelson
Writers: Michael Pertwee, Jack Davies, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Melville Shavelson, Jack Rose
Main cast: Clark Gable, Sophia Loren, Marietto