It Started in Naples

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It Started in Naples
It started in naples79.jpg
Directed by Melville Shavelson
Produced by Jack Rose
Written by Suso Cecchi d'Amico (screenplay)
Michael Pertwee
Jack Davies (story)
Starring Clark Gable
Sophia Loren
Vittorio De Sica
Music by Alessandro Cicognini
Carlo Savina
Cinematography Robert Surtees
Edited by Frank Bracht
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • August 7, 1960 (1960-08-07)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,300,000 (US/ Canada) [1]

It Started in Naples is a 1960 American romantic comedy film directed by Melville Shavelson and produced by Jack Rose from a screenplay by Suso Cecchi d'Amico, based on the story by Michael Pertwee and Jack Davies. The Technicolor cinematography was directed by Robert Surtees. The film stars Clark Gable, Sophia Loren, Vittorio De Sica and an Italian cast.


The film was released by Paramount Pictures on August 7, 1960.


Only a few days before his wedding, Michael Hamilton (Clark Gable), a Philadelphia lawyer, travels to Naples in Southern Italy to settle the estate of his late brother, Joseph, with Italian lawyer Vitalli (Vittorio De Sica). In the opening narration, he states that he "was here before with the 5th US Army" in World War II. In Naples, Michael discovers that his brother had a son, eight-year-old Nando (Carlo Angeletti), who is being cared for by his maternal aunt Lucia (Sophia Loren), a cabaret singer. Joseph never married Nando's mother but drowned with her in a boating accident. Joseph's actual wife, whom he had left in 1950, is alive in Philadelphia. Michael discovers to his dismay that his brother spent a fortune on fireworks. After seeing Nando handing out racy photos of Lucia at 2 a.m., Michael wants to enroll Nando in the American School at Rome, but Lucia wins custody of the boy. Despite the age difference, romance soon blossoms between Michael and Lucia, and he decides to stay in Italy.



It Started in Naples was Gable's final film to be released within his lifetime, and it was his last film in color.

One highlight of the film is a tongue-in-cheek musical number by Loren called "Tu vuò fà l'americano" ("You Want to Be American"), written by famed Neapolitan composer Renato Carosone.

Angeletti did not speak English and learned his lines phonetically, which he had also done in his previous film, in which he mouthed German lines without knowing how to speak German. [2]

On the second day of filming of a courtroom scene, an actor portraying one of the judges seen in the first day's footage was unavailable because he had plans to take his family to the beach. The actor sent his brother in his place, who did not resemble him. [2]

Filmed on location in Rome, Naples and Capri, It Started in Naples was nominated for an Oscar for its art direction (Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson, Samuel M. Comer, Arrigo Breschi). It was released to DVD in North America in 2005.


Writing in The New York Times, critic Bosley Crowther called the film a "featherweight, obvious romance" but praised Loren: "Among the scenic attractions ... is an eyeful named Sophia Loren. ... And the Bay of Naples, the Blue Grotto, the port of Capri and numerous vistas on the Mediterranean are scarcely as stunning as she." [3]

See also

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  1. "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  2. 1 2 Rose, Jack; Shavelson, Melville (1960-08-28). "Movie Via the Paisan 'Method': Easy Does It". The New York Times. Sec. 2, p. 7.
  3. Crowther, Bosley (1960-09-03). "Screen: Backdrop for Sophia Loren". The New York Times. p. 7.