Billy Wilder is undubitably one of the greatest film directors of all-time, and his lifetime accolades speak for themselves: as either a writer and/or director, his movies have received a total of 21 Oscar nominations, in a 27-year span, from 1940 to 1967.
His timeless classics such as Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd. and Some Like It Hot immediately come to mind whenever Wilder’s name is brought up. However, there are gems to be found in his work, one of them is Avanti!, which he made in the early 70s.
Avanti! was made in the small community of Ischia, in Naples, Italy, starring Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills. Mrs. Mills’ daughter, Melissa, recently reached out to me to inform that they’ve actually made the trip back to Ischia a short while ago.
45 years ago, Avanti! (precisely, during the summer of 1972), was being made and Mrs. Mills must have made an impression because some people did recognize her all these years later, one of them being the (still to this day) owner of the Grand Hotel Excelsior, Mrs. Lidia Fiorentino
*(Mrs. Fiorentino on the right)
Even a stuntman in the film (now an employee of the hotel) recognized the actress. The Hotel itself has barely changed, it still bears a familiar shape.
Mrs. Mills went back to the place where her character, Mrs. Piggott, met with Jack Lemmon’s Wendell Armbruster Jr., what then posed as a morgue. Unchanged too.
*Mrs. Mills with her daughter Melissa.
For old times’ sake, why not have minstrels sing Core ‘ngrato?
… and enjoy the beautiful view while we’re at it?
*Many thanks to Mrs. Caulfield for the story & pictures.