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Film / The Yellow Rolls-Royce

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The Yellow Rolls-Royce is a 1965 film directed by Anthony Asquith.

It's a Hyperlink Story about the various owners of a 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II (this one, in fact). The film consists of three stories set from 1931 to 1941.

  • The brand-new Rolls-Royce is purchased by Charles, the Marquess of Frinton (Rex Harrison) for his lovely French wife Eloise (Jeanne Moreau), as a make-up gesture for forgetting their anniversary. But Charles has bigger problems, as it turns out Eloise is having an affair.
  • A few years later the Rolls-Royce, having passed through at least one other owner, is purchased by Mafia gangster Paolo Maltese. Paolo (George C. Scott) is an Italian-American who has come back to visit the old country, his fiancee Mae (Shirley MacLaine) in tow. Paolo gives the car to Mae, but once again, the car does not stop the woman who gets it from falling for another man, dashingly handsome Stefano (Alain Delon, in his English-language debut).
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  • In 1941 the car is bought by Gerda Millett (Ingrid Bergman), an American widow who hasn't let a little thing like World War II stop her from touring Fascist Italy. She happens to be in Trieste on the border with Yugoslavia, just as the Germans are getting ready to invade Yugoslavia. Gerda encounters an anti-fascist Yugoslavian man, Davich (Omar Sharif), who demands the use of the Rolls-Royce to get over the border and back to his country to fight the Germans. (Buck Henry appears as the American consul.)


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Tropes:

  • And the Adventure Continues: The film ends with somebody driving the Rolls to New York City on I-95, implying that more people will have adventures with the fancy car.
  • Auto Erotica: Two of the three owners of the car have sex in it, and the third, Eloise, would have if her husband hadn't interrupted her.
  • As You Know...: Charles's aide feels compelled to tell him Charles that Charles has a horse racing in the Gold Cup on June 10.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: Paolo's sidekick Friedlander looks up at the Leaning Tower of Pisa in admiration, and a bird poops on his face.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Mae has fallen in love with Stefano, but she knows that if Paolo finds out he'll kill them both. So she breaks up with him, telling him that it was a fling.
  • Cool Car: The 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, painted bright yellow no less. It certainly looks cool.
  • Fanservice: Alain Delon and Shirley MacLaine in swimwear, for the scene where Stefano and Mae go swimming in a hidden grotto.
  • Genre Anthology: Three self-contained dramatic stories centering on three different people who at one time owned a fancy car.
  • Hyperlink Story: Three different stories linked by the presence of a particular Rolls-Royce in each.
  • In Love with the Gangster's Girl: Stefano the photographer falls in love with Mae, the fiancee of Paolo the Mafia gangster. Mae, who knows what Paolo is capable of (Paolo had to make a quick trip back to the United States, to kill someone), breaks it off with Stefano.
  • Invisible President: It seems the Ascot Gold Cup is a big enough deal that King George V and Queen Mary attend. Only the backs of their heads are shown.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Gerda is utterly clueless as to the war situation. When the assistant vice consul tells her that she can't visit Yugoslavia because a German invasion is imminent, she tells him that the German ambassador told her that "Herr Hitler has no more territorial claims in Europe."
  • Oh, Crap!: The Italian salesman comes charging out of the car dealership to yell at the guy singing in front of his door, only to reel with shock when he sees the man he's insulted is Paolo Maltese.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Davich hides in the trunk of the Rolls so Gerda can drive him past the border checkpoint and into Yugoslavia.
  • Revealing Hug: Eloise's look of disquiet when Charles puts his hands on her shoulders and says that he's missed her foreshadows that something is up with her. Sure enough she's cheating on him.
  • Shout-Out: There's a poster for the movie Dinner at Eight in the hotel where Paolo and Mae get a room.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Mae is changing out of her swimsuit when Stefano opens the door to the car. Sex follows.
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