This wholesome, disarmingly ingenuous Franco-Italian comedy-drama with English dialogue is superbly photographed in Technirama and Technicolor and tells of a checkered romance between an attractive Texan and a handsome Italian prince, each of whom thinks the other wealthy.
Diana Dors and Vittorio Gassman are superb, and the constantly varied Italian backgrounds are delightful (the picture is headquartered in Siena but also calls at Pisa and other well-known places for laughs and romance).
Diana Dixon (Dors) is the comely daughter of a petrol station attendant from Idle Falls, Texas, who hits the jackpot – $1,000, a monstrous Cadillac and a new wardrobe – on an American TV quiz show. She spends the prize money on a long-dreamed-of trip to Italy and meets Prince Piero di Montalcino (Gassman), a dashing but impoverished blue blood.
He believes Diana is an heiress and chases her, and she – confident that Piero has wealth as well as position – encourages him.
During a ball given by his people to celebrate the young couple’s engagement, it is disclosed that Diana has no cash, and Piero’s family humiliates her. Later, Diana – seeking revenge – rides against Piero in the famous Contrada of Siena (“the Palio”), a traditional race around the ancient town, and wins.
Her victory leads to her and Piero realising that their love is more important than money.
Diana Dors is bewitching and wears beautiful gowns. Vittorio Gassman looks and acts his part well, and Franca Valeri, Bruce Cabot and Tina Lattanzi head a first-rate supporting cast.
Many of the extras for the horse race scenes were real jockeys, some of which were quite well-known to the Sienese.
One of them, Pietro De Angelis (nicknamed “Pietrino”) – the winner of two previous Palio races – died of a heart attack while the movie was being filmed in August 1957.
Originally released as La Ragazza del Palio.
Prince Piero di Montalcino
Countess Bernardi Scotti
Laura Bernardi Scotti
Adelaide Serravezza di Montalcino
Car Mechanic’s Wife
Butler at Montalcino’s
Piero di Montalcino’s chubby Friend
Diana Dixon’s Father
Diana Dixon’s Mother
The Jockey ‘Baffo’
Cristina De Angelis
The tall ‘Mangino’ for the Aquila Contrada
Quiz Show Host