A Breath of Scandal
by Michael Curtiz


Italy - March 16, 1960 - Olympia - 99'
West Germany - April 12, 1960 - Prinzessin Olympia
Canada (Montreal, Palace) - November 1960 - A Breath of Scandal - 98'
USA (New York City, Trans-Lux Theater) - December 16, 1960 - A Breath of Scandal - 98'
France (Paris) - June 2, 1961 - Un scandale à la cour
Spain (Madrid, Real & La Torre) - September 25, 1961 - Escándalo en la corte - 93'

American poster Italian poster Belgian poster American DVD


, 1805: the princess Olympia, daughter of a dignitary of the Imperial court, is confined in the ancestral castle as a result of her conduct, judged to be scandalous. The young woman meets a young American and spends the night with him, disappearing in the morning. The young man, surprised by the woman’s disappearance, sets off for Vienna to obtain an audience with the Emperor to discuss important matters. Princess Olympia, pardoned by the Emperor, returns to the Imperial court where, for reasons of state, she is about to marry Prince Rupert. At the engagement bail the two young people meet again and reciprocal feelings of love are rekindled between them. A countess who is one of Olympia’s rivals discovers the relationship and causes a scandal, but the Emperor steps in to smother it and grants the two young lovers permission to marry. (Enrico Lancia)
Story: Play ‘Olympia’ by Ferenc Molnar adapted by Sidney Howard


Vienna (Austria)
Wien Films, Rosenhügel Studios, Vienna

Titanus Appia Studios, Rome (Italy)

Filming dates: June through August 1959


Sophia Loren
(Princess Olympia)
Maurice Chevalier (Prince Philip)
John Gavin (Charlie Foster)
Isabel Jeans (Princess Eugenie)
Angela Lansbury (Countess Lina)


Mario Montuori (Technicolor, VistaVision)
Alessandro Cicognini
Makeup Artist:
Giuseppe Annunziata
Maria Angelini
Costumes design:
George Hoyninge-Huene, Ella Bei

Sophia's English coach:
Helen Goss
Still photographer:
G.B. Poletto
Carlo Ponti for Titanus and Marcello Girosi for Paramount


Sophia and Carlo rent the largest suite at the Imperial Hotel for the duration of the filming.

The movie is delayed during the first week of June because Chevalier has a cold.

Sophia found Curtiz impossible to work with. His thick Hungarian accent and tendency to bark commands in garbled English, "Sophia didn't understand a word Curtiz said, and yet I found him a very good director," Angela Lansbury recalled. Since it was too late to change directors, Ponti let Curtiz continue with the movie but, without telling him, also arranged for Vittorio De Sica to fly in from Rome to work with Sophia. Ponti's offer of $2,500 a day in cash was an irresistible lure to De Sica, a besotted gambler who went out every night to hit the roulette tables of Vienna's casinos. Curtiz never found out about it, but after he left the set for the day, De Sica was often called in to reshoot scenes that Sophia and/or Ponti felt that she could have done better. (Harris)

On first day of shooting at Rome's Titanus studios, on July 24, still photographer G.B. Poletto suffers slight wounds by a riffle fired by Sophia.


"Miss Loren swings through her performance as if she finds much more charm (and why not?) in the loud and lacy costumes than
she does in her princess role."
Bosley Crowther, New York Times. 17 dec 1960

"A dispirited Michael Curtiz left the stars to their own devices. This seems specially hard on Sophia Loren, in any case not an ideal choice for a princess, who obviously still needs the help of a Lumet or a Cukor in sharpening the finer points of her comedy technique."
Robert Vas, Sight and Sound

"She has taken on a lot, quite a lot, from the Hollywood milieu. She has, so to speak, become more polished. She has acquired a particular charm all her own, a worldly grace, her own genuine look. She displays her own true style. She plays an Austrian princess and develops her role with fascinating simplicity."
Il Giornale di Sicilia

Copyrights for all photos belong to their respective owners.
Excelsior Communication © 2007-2010

The Sophia Loren Archives
(click here if you don't see top menu)