Tea With Mussolini 1999

LOVEFiLM By Post

Britain’s largest choice of DVDs and Blu-rays to rent by post £7.99 per month.

Start your 30 day free trial

Existing LOVEFiLM member? Switch account

Prime and Prime Instant Video members can receive unlimited discs, two at a time, for £6.99 per month after trial.

(153) IMDb 6.9/10
LOVEFiLM By Post

Semi-autobiographical tale from the early life of director Franco Ziffirelli.

Starring:
Joan Plowright, Cher
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 57 minutes
Starring Joan Plowright, Cher, Judi Dench
Director Franco Zeffirelli
Genres Comedy, Drama
Rental release 3 March 2002
Main languages English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Sept. 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, who also wrote the screenplay with John Mortimer, this (1999) semi-autobiographical tale revolves around an illegitimate Italian child named Luca, whose wealthy father provides financial support but otherwise ignores him. Taken under the wing of Mary Wallace (Joan Plowright), one of a group of British women who have remained in Italy during the rule of Mussolini, he learns English and enjoys the only stability he has ever known. When Italy allies itself with Germany, his father sends him off to school in Germany, but Luca remains close to "Miss Mary."
Lady Hester Random (Maggie Smith), artist Arabella (Judi Dench), and several other expatriots, are all in Mary Wallace's very British social circle. Under Lady Hester's direction, they are insulated, self-satisfied, and exclusive, and regard people like Elsa Morganthau-Strauss, an American parvenu and art-collector (Cher), as beneath them. She mockingly refers to them as the "scorpioni," an opinion shared by Georgie, an American archaeologist (Lily Tomlin). When the fascists threaten their lifestyle, Lady Hester, widow of the former ambassador, has tea with Mussolini, who promises to look after her and her friends personally. When war breaks out, however, promises are broken, and it is up to Luca, back from Germany, to try to help.
The level of irony is suggested in the title, as the "scorpioni" refuse to believe that Mussolini's "ungentlemanly" behavior could possibly affect them.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Dec. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Set in Florence in the 1930s and 1940s - in a haven for English 'gentility' where tea is served at 4 o'clock precisely each tranquil afternoon.
A declaration of war is a mere detail since securing the 'word' of Il Duce that their safety was in his personal guarantee at a tea party so magnanimously hosted by the man himself.
How could the word of such a nice man be doubted since, after all, he made the trains run on time, didn't he!
With the grim reminders of war reverberating in their ears, how were they to prevail?
This moving and compassionate film is studded with marvelous one-liners from Maggie Smith aimed mainly at Cher's character who shares the limelight equally with a powerful cast, including Jean Plowright and Dame Judy Dench.
A 'must see' movie, no question.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
64 of 68 people found the following review helpful By J. Hutchings on 28 Dec. 2006
Format: DVD
I caught this film a few years ago on Channel 4 (in England), and was quite taken with its story telling. One cannot but notice the stellar cast - Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, Lily Tomlin and, believe it or not, Cher. They, however, do not dominate the film, nor does it become a case of watching actors trying to out-act each other. Much more, each plays a gracious part to the other, allowing the story to come through.

The cinematography is excellent, with San Gimignano and Florence caught beautifully. The music score is supportive and well-written without drowning the scenes in emotion.

All in all, the film comes across as very 'English' (or rather, what 'English' once was) - balanced, gracious, never too much and always polite. If anything, the film is worth £7 just for Maggie Smith's line at the end.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Jun. 2004
Format: VHS Tape
An underlying serious drama produced in a clever humorous style, with a superb acting cast,creating maximum impact and food for thought. I look forward to seeing the film again.
For the student of the language, the Italian, when spoken, was great along with the vernacular and other colloquial expressions. The sub-titles were pretty good!
I am buying this video as a gift for my very mature Italian professoressa, who did live through some of the times depicted and hails from the region.
It is a pleasure to see the beautiful countryside and revisit San Giminagno.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bluebellgirl on 6 Nov. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Cher, make for superb viewing in this delicious film of love and friendship. Set in Florence in 1937, these English woman have lived in Florence several years and see it as their home. They rally around Luca a young boy born of a now deceased English seamstress and an arrogant Italian father who rejects Luca. These women teach him to love art, literature and history. But there is dark side when the women are forced to leave Florence and are horded into a derelict hotel when Italy goes to war with Hilter. Maggie Smith is funny and stoically British and stands her ground when she has tea with Mussolini at his palace. A wonderful story and great viewing. I've watched it several times since I purchased it because it is such a lovely story.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 4 Oct. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Semi-autobiographical tale from the early life of director Franco Zeffirelli looks at the illegitimate son of an Italian businessman. The boy's mother has died, and he is raised by an Englishwoman (Joan Plowright) in pre-WWII Fascist Italy. Living to each other in Florence, and presided over by an ambassador's widow (Maggie Smith), a group of Englishwomen live a sheltered existence which they believe is guaranteed personal protection in a tea reception given by Il Duce. However, as war breaks out, the women are interned. Occasionally in this English colony is a wealthy American (Cher), who visits among her travels and marriages to wealthy older men. She respects the "Scorpioni", as they are known, and secretly arranges for their stay in a hotel. When the United States enters the war, the American too is taken into custody. Only then does she discover that her Italian lover has tricked her into signing over all her money and modern art collection to him, and is now arranging her execution. This obliges all to join forces.

Tea With Mussolini is great entertainment. It is maybe not the great film so many had thought it would be, but with a true story, great casting and performances, and an interesting setting and time it is highly enjoyable. The female cast was fantastic. In particular Maggie Smith as Lady Hester, the crusty, sharp tongued wife of the former ambassador, Joan Plowright as the sweet but strong grandmotherly type and Julie Dench as the "arty" one. Cher as the brash, nouveau riche American was well cast. The men in general cannot match the female cast. The only objection I have that the characters might be a bit too stereotyped: the film perpetuates the idea of British as tea-drinking stiff upper lippers, Americans as rich, brash, everything is buying but in the end good at heart. Well all in good fun.

I enjoyed every minute of it!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again