C'era una volta
by Francesco Rosi


Italy (Naples, Teatro San Carlo) - October 19, 1967- C'era una volta - 117'
USA (New York, Radio City Music Hall) - November 1, 1967 - More than a Miracle - 110'
Canada (Montreal, Odeon) - November 1967 - More than a Miracle - 110'
West Germany - December 29, 1967 - Schöne Isabella - 99'
France (Paris) - May 31, 1968 - La belle et le cavalier -
Spain - 1968 - Siempre hay una mujer - 100' (attendance: 1,321,916)
UK - 1969 - Cinderella, Italian Style -

French poster Spanish poster Italian poster American poster


Campania, around 1600, under Spanish rule. Prince Rodrigo Ferrante d’Avalos, reluctant to marry. receives advice from friar. Giuseppe da Copertino to marry only the girl who will prepare and give him to eat seven gnocchi. He meets a proud, very beautiful farm girl, Isabella, and struck by her beauty, has her make him the gnocchi. But Isabella eats one of them and the prediction does not come true for the moment. Isabella herself is not insensitive to the prince’s charm, and to get close to him she manages to get into the royal palace by getting hired
as a scullery maid. Rodrigo meanwhile, is forced for reasons of State, to choose a bride from among the seven princesses of the seven
provinces of the realm; he therefore orders the would-be brides to wash stacks of dishes and he will choose the princess who breaks the fewest. Isabella is introduced as the eighth pre tender, an imaginary princess from Caccamone, the love-smitten Rodrigo being certain that she will beat the inexperienced damsels. But trickery makes Rodrigo’s plan go amiss and in the final round it is Isabella herself who breaks more
dishes than the last competitor, the princess of Altamura. But in the end Isabella succeeds in unmasking the ruse and marrying her
beloved prince. (Enrico  Lancia)

Story: Based on the novella ‘Lu cunto de Ii cunti’ by G. B. Basile.


Matera, Certosa di Padula, Bracciano (Italy)
Circus of Maxentius on Via Appia, Rome (Italy)
Cinecittà, Rome (Italy)
Safa-Palatino Studios, Rome (Italy)

Filming dates: August through October 1966 and March 1967.


Sophia Loren (Isabella Candeloro)
Omar Sharif (Prince Rodrigo Ferrante d’Avalos)
Dolores Del Rio (Queen Mother)
Georges Wilson (Mr. Jean-Jacques called Monzù)
Leslie French (brother Giuseppe da Copertino)


Photography (Technicolor, Franscope):
Pasquale De Santis
Costume design:
Giulio Coltellacci
Piero Piccioni
Sophia's Makeup:
Giuseppe Annunziata
Sophia's Costumes:
Sartoria Safas
Still photographers:
Tazio Secchiaroli, Angelo Frontoni, Milton H. Greene
Sophia's voice is dubbed by:
Mario Degler (German)

Carlo Ponti for c.c. Champion (Rome) / Les Films Concordia (Paris)


"Rosi would have preferred Marcello Mastroianni for the role of the prince, but he had to accept Omar Sharif because Carlo Ponti felt that the film would have a wider market that way and because Sophia had never digested having had to give up being Sharif's co-star in the legendary epic film Doctor Zhivago."
Stefano Masi & Enrico Lancia,

The movie is simultaneously filmed in Italian and in English, but only for the three main characters.

Filming is interrupted after three months as Sophia's new pregnancy turns to miscarriage again on January 13, 1967.

Announcement of Sophia's teaming with Omar Sharif triggered another blast from the Arab League, which condemned the Egyptian-born actor for collaborating with a friend of Israel.


Whether on-screen, stunningly shot by Giuseppe De Santis, or in the Tazio Secciaroli (sic) stills, the impeccably buoyant Loren features had, indeed, never been more radiant."
Tony Crawley, The Films of Sophia Loren.

"Sophia Loren, back in her imperious native cadences, sparkles in the rags of a disturbing Cinderella."
Onorario Orsini, La Notte. (20 oct 1967)

"In addition to be a beautiful movie star and an actress of real talent, Sophia Loren a one-woman anti-poverty program."
Vincent Canby, New York Times, 2 nov 1967

"Sophia's personality goes way beyond what she wants to show. She has the eyes of  a common girl, possesses all the caracteristics of an aristocrat brought up by poverty and suffering. We were the only two Neapolitans in the troup. We would understand each other without even saying a word."
Francesco Rosi

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

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