Naked Maja, The C+
Taking liberties with history, “The Naked Maja” is a fanciful tale about the life and loves of the great Spanish artist Francisco Goya in the last decade of the eighteenth century.
Anthony Franciosa overacts (as always) as the temperamental artist, and Ava Gardner, at her most beautiful, plays his lifelong paramour, the Duchess of Alba.
While the Prime Minister of Spain schemes to betray his country to Napoleon’s forces and the Spanish Inquisition is near its end, Goya tries to survive the pangs of love he feels for the Duchess, who is a beautiful but aloof and mysterious woman.
In reality, the artist was seriously ill during this period, and was actually afflicted with deafness. But reality is set aside for high romance, as the melodrama of the crossed lovers overshadows both art and politics.
Director Henry Koster is a craftsman but not an artist, and so the movie is dominated by painterly tableaux that border kitsch.
Even so, Gardner, then at her peak, is gorgeous and in every singles scene, wears a seductive dress of different color.
Running time: 111 Minutes.
Directed By: Henry Koster
DVD: December 15, 1993
Ava Gardner as Duchess of Alba
Anthony Franciosa as Francisco Goya
Amedeo Nazzari as Prime Minister
Gino Cervi as King Carlos IV
Lea Padovani as Queen Maria Luisa
Carlo Rizzo as Juanito
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