With Love... Sophia
by Michael Pfleghar

USA: ABC, October 25, 1967 - 52'


Dialogues: Shelton Keller – Choreography: Don Lurio – Photography: Robert Girardi, Heiz Hölscher – Costumes: Ian Fraser Costumes: Christian Dior, Bona and Rosetta Nasalli-Rocca Still Photographer: Tazio Secchiaroli – Music Composer: Ian Fraser  Producer: Roger Gimbel - Production: David L. Wolper Productions.


Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers, Jonathan Winters, Marcello Mastroianni.

Villa Marino, Marcello Mastroianni's house on via Appia, Rome Zoo

Filming dates:  August 1967


The show was originally titled The Life and Times of Sophia Loren and Summertime in Rome.

Sophia sings several songs, including a tango called Siesta with Mastroianni, Out of Town as she drives her red Alfa Romeo car through the Roman countryside, I Talk to the Animals at the Rome Zoo and My Time of Evening for the closing scene of the show from the balcony of her villa. Other songs featured on the soundtrack are sung by Sophia's Italian-American fan Tony Bennett.

Special billboard-size Avedon fashion images of Loren can be seen in the garden as scenic elements.

As a favor to Sophia, Sellers agreed to appear in a sketch about the previous occupants of Villa Ponti. He portrayed an asinine German officer from World War II times. The American comedian Jonathan Winters plays a sixteenth-century sculptor.

In other sections of the TV special, Sophia reminisces with Marcello Mastroianni about their films together and later joins him for a fiery tango in which he repeats the impersonation of Rudolph Valentino that earned him acclaim in a Rome stage musical the previous year. Their dance starts on the patio of Villa Ponti and ends in the swimming pool, with their hands still clapping above their heads as they sink from sight.

The House of Dior designs eight exclusive outfits to wear in the filming of the show and flies two staffers down from Paris to Rome to make sure they fit properly.

The $1,000 Dior gown is submerged in the pool as Sophia and Marcello tango energetically down a flight of steps and under the surface of water.


"Leslie Bricusse, who'd previously composed some of the numbers for Sophia's record album with Sellers, contributed seven songs. Sponsored by the textiles division of Monsanto, the one-hour color program was a veritable fashion show for the house Dior, which dressed Sophia throughout."
Warren G. Harris, Sophia Loren.

"Sophia went on to host other television specials, including With Love, Sophia. The show, which aired on ABC on October 25, 1967, was an ambitious musical fantasy that centered on the Villa Ponti. In keeping with her then diva status, special billboard-size Avedon fashion images of Loren were erected in the garden as scenic elements. Tony Bennett sang some of the numbers on the soundtrack and Loren sang three herself."
Deirdre Donohue, Sophia Style.

"Unlike other tours conducted by name stars, Sophia-With Love was low-key entertainement at its best."
Bob Foster, The Times, 27 oct 1967

"A television program that can make Sophia Loren dull must be some kind of masterpiece.
Bob McKenzie, The Oakland Tribune, 26 oct 1967

"The combination of beautiful woman and elegant clothes is one of the more striking features of "With Love... Sophia."
San Antonio Light, 22 oct 1967

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

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