The Barefoot Contessa

The Barefoot Contessa

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The Barefoot Contessa

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The Barefoot Contessa is a 1954 film about the life and loves of fictional Spanish sex symbol Maria Vargas. It was written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and stars Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner and Edmond O'Brien.

For his performance, O'Brien won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Mankiewicz was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay.


Down on his luck, veteran movie director and writer Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart) is reduced to working for abusive, emotionally stunted business tycoon Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens), who has decided he wants to produce a film to stroke his monumental ego. Looking for a fresh leading lady, they discover, in a Madrid night club, stunning dancer Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner), a blithe but proud spirit who likes to go barefoot and has a troubled home life.

Maria takes an instant dislike to Kirk but trusts Harry, whose work she knows. Thanks to his expertise and the help of sweaty, insincere publicist Oscar Muldoon (Edmond O'Brien), her film debut is a sensation. Kirk tries to control Maria's life by publicly ordering her to stay away from wealthy Latin American playboy Alberto Bravano (Marius Goring), but Maria rebels.

She is a great star, but Maria is not satisfied. She envies the happiness her friend Harry has found with his wife Jerry (Elizabeth Sellars) and wants a prince charming of her own. Alberto is too frivolous and shallow for her. When he berates her in public for supposedly ruining his luck at a...
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