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Squeeze a Flower (1969)

Italian comedian Walter Chiari again plays an innocent abroad ‘down under’, just as he had done three years earlier in They’re A Weird Mob, this time as Brother George – an Italian monk who puts the commercial interests of the Abbey of Remani (near Livorno in Italy) on an almost equal par with his devotion to the Lord.

The Abbey’s main source of income is from the sale of ‘Liquore D’Oro’ – a famous liqueur, manufactured and improved over the years by the Order.

Brother George believes the Abbey doesn’t get sufficient profit from the distributor and demands more. He is refused and his action disclosed to the Abbot (Alec Kellaway) who reprimands George

Brother George takes it as a sign from God that he should leave the monastery. He signs on as part of the crew on a small boat and is paid off in Sydney, Australia’

On the wharf he sees a case of wine addressed to the ‘Brazzi Wine Company, Hunter Valley’, which he believes is another sign from God. He goes to the vineyard, owned by Alfredo Brazzi (Jack Albertson) and managed by his son-in-law, Tim O’Mahoney (Irish comic Dave Allen) and – as ‘George Brothers’ – he gets a job.

Eventually, he makes the Remani liqueur for the Brazzis, calling it “Bel Fiore” (Beautiful Flower) and sending his share of the profits to the Abbey, anonymously.

Rowena Wallace co-stars as June Phillips, the Account Executive of the advertising agency who markets the liqueur now made by George and his partners, Brazzi and O’Mahoney, and who tries to wheedle the secret recipe from unsuspecting George. Kirrily Nolan is Maria, daughter of Alfredo Brazzi and the wife of Tim O’Mahoney.

The bulk of the movie was filmed at McWilliams’ Mt Pleasentvinyeard in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. Italian monastery sequences were shot at St Patrick’s College, a training centre for Roman Catholic priests, situated on a headland overlooking Manly Beach and the Pacific Ocean in Sydney. Terrace houses in Sydney also doubled for Italian houses in the only other scene set in Italy.

Brother George
Walter Chiari
Alfredo Brazzi
Jack Albertson
Tim O’Mahoney
Dave Allen
June Phillips
Rowena Wallace
Maria O’Mahoney
Kirrily Nolan
The Abbot
Alec Kellaway
Brother James
Michael Laurence
Brother Peter
Alan Tobin
Brother Sebastian
Charles McCallum
Vequis
Harry Lawrence
Bosun
Roger Ward
Bert Andrews
Jeff Ashby

Director
Marc Daniels