Mamma Mia, Here They Went Before
Twenty years earlier Carla Campbell's (Gina Lollobrigida) family would let U.S. servicemen stay with them whilst stationed in Italy and as an attractive young Italian woman Carla always had their attention. The thing is that 3 weeks after the men went Carla discovered she was pregnant and after writing to each of the men that could be her child's father they wrote back promising to take care of her which is why she has been receiving cheques every month for the last 20 years from the three men who are oblivious to the fact the other men, their friends from back in the war, had been doing the same. But with there being a military reunion being staged in the town Carla's worst nightmare is about to happen as the three men; Phil (Phil Silvers), Justin (Peter Lawford) and Walter (Telly Savalas) are in town with their other halves for the reunion all of whom want to not only meet their daughter Gia (Janet Margolin) but also catch up with Carla.
One woman, one child but three men who could be the daughter's father, no I am not talking about the musical "Mamma Mia" but the 1968 comedy "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell". Here we have Gina Lollobrigida as the mother who is confronted by the arrival of the three men she slept with back during the war, each one could be the father of her teenage daughter. And this is completely packed with fun from Carla having not just pocketed the support money from each of the men over the years but has lied about getting married to an American who died during the war. On top of these squeaky bum moments for Carla we also have the comedy of the 3 men trying to escape from their wives and children to sneak off to see Carla who is trying to juggle them when they are all due to turn up on the same morning. It is simply a good old 60s screwball comedy with plenty of laughs from sight gags to witty lines as well as some culture comedy as one wife keeps getting her bum pinched from the stereotypical randy Italians
Whilst the writing is first rate in "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" the casting is even better. Phil Silvers, Peter Lawford and Telly Savalas are all first rate bringing plenty of humour and variety to the movie from Lawford making Justin smooth but a little stiff, Savalas is loud and as for Phil Silvers, well he gives the movie plenty of Phil Silvers with lots of comedy face pulling. But it is Gina Lollobrigida who makes the movie as she delivers the expected element of being sexy but also the comical fear of a woman who has been living a lie and trying desperately not to get caught out.
What this all boils down to is that "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" is a lot of fun and also even more amusing watched now when you realise that the storyline to this movie influenced "Mamma Mia".