Everyone’s at their worst in Joseph Losey’s overreaching stab at the Antonioni art-house crowd. Stanley Baker, a sort of neurasthenic Sean Connery, in his third straight pic for Losey, plays a tough-living, hard-drinking Welsh author whose bestseller is premiering in Venice as a hit movie. He’s engaged to stabilizing nice-girl Verna Lisi, but is sexually enslaved to willful bitch-temptress Jeanne Moreau. They all have it out at each other with Moreau pulling the strings, until their lives crack. Losey seems to delight in turning the screws & celebrating the EuroTrash loathsomeness of it all (ooh!, there's Peggy Guggenheim!), but he pushes too hard, as if he’s just discovered sex, jealousy, decadence, gambling, deceit & bad girls hanging out at bars. La dolce vita rarely looked so strenuous, uninviting or obvious. The KINO DVD also includes Losey’s original cut which adds twenty unwelcome minutes in a shabby looking Swedish print.
WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Losey’s luck would change the following year with his superb collaboration on THE SERVANT/’63 with a great script from Harold Pinter and pitch-perfect perfs from Dirk Bogarde & James Fox.