Blu-ray Review: Three Coins in the Fountain

STUDIO: Twilight Time | DIRECTOR: Jean Negulesco | CAST: Louis Jourdan, Jean Peters, Rossano Brazzi, Dorothy McGuire, Clifton Webb, Maggie McNamara
RELEASE DATE: April 16, 2019 | PRICE: Blu-ray $29.95
BONUSES: commentary, music track, newsreels, trailer
SPECS: NR | 102 min. | Romance drama | 2.55:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video | Overall

Though it features Dorothy McGuire (The Spiral Staircase), Jean Peters (Broken Lance), Louis Jourdan (Letter from an Unknown Woman) and Clifton Webb (Stars and Stripes Forever) in its familiar cast, the real star of the 1954 Twentieth Century Fox romantic melodrama Three Coins in the Fountain is the film’s glorious widescreen CinemaScope presentation.  The anamorphic lens process was created in 1953 under the hand of Fox president Spyros Skouras and marked the beginning of the modern widescreen format that would grow in proficiency and popularity over the subsequent decades.

Concerning three working women living in glamorous 1950s Rome (McGuire, Peters and Maggie McNamara) and pursuing romance (with Jordan, Webb and Rossano Brazzi), which begins with the trio tossing some wishful currency into Rome’s famed Trevi Fountain, Three Coins is at its best when it serves up some lovely, panoramic photography of the Eternal City (which is frequently distorted due to the yet-to-be-perfected lenses). Its opening title tune sung by Frank Sinatra is also a winner. But the story itself—which subscribes to the “all women must have a man” Hollywood philosophy of the era, is more eye-rolling than it is engaging. That said, the ladies and their beaus sure look good on the great, big, wide screen (2.55:1 ratio, baby!), as directed by journeyman filmmaker Jean Negulesco (The Best of Everything), who was referred to as “the first real master of CinemaScope.”

The bonus features (all ported over the Fox DVD) provide some additional fun (actually, more fun than the movie, visuals notwithstanding). Film historian Jeanine Basinger’s commentary puts the whole affair into the context of 1950s Hollywood, while the vintage trailers trumpet the wonders of CinemaScope, which demands that you turn away from your oh-so-small TV screen and head out to the theater!


Buy or Rent Three Coins in a Fountain

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.