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The Wings of the Dove

Venice Movie Review

Wings of the Dove poster

ABOVE: What's wrong with this movie poster? Examine a larger image, or see the answer below.

Venice makes a great setting for a period picture, and The Wings of the Dove is an irresistible look at the Venice of 1910.

The movie, which is based on the Henry James novel of the same title, was directed by Iain Soffley and released by Miramax Films in late 1997. Helena Bonham Carter plays an impoverished Englishwoman who longs to marry an equally poor journalist (Linus Roache) but is forbidden to do so by her rich aunt and guardian (Charlotte Rampling).

When a rich but terminally ill American (Alison Elliot) shows up and is attracted to our heroine's boyfriend, it looks like a win-win situation for everyone. Or, to quote the movie poster's pitch line:

A couple with everything but money.
An heiress with everything but love.
A temptation no one could resist.

For the Venetophile, the story and acting (and, for that matter, the intimate nude scene with Helena Bonham Carter) aren't nearly so important as the film's lush portrayal of Venice. The story begins and ends in London, but much of it takes place in the gondolas, palazzi, public squares, and back streets of a Venice that doesn't look all that different from the city that tourists see today. The Wings of the Dove joins Summertime and Woody Allen's Everyone Says I love You as pictures that belong on every Venice traveler's "A" list of movies and DVDs.

Related article:

Venice Movies and Videos
Our article recommends theatrical films and travelogues with Venetian settings, ranging from David Lean's Summertime (with Katherine Hepburn) to the delightful Italian comedy Bread and Tulips.

What's wrong with the movie poster?
Look closely at the photo, and you'll see a modern vaporetto and floating waterbus platform in the background. (These are easier to see if you view a larger image.)