There's something about star- crossed lovers in league against society that delights us. Be it "Othello" or "Lady and the Tramp," there's nothing like a good dose of culture conflict to spice up a love story. And we certainly get our fair share in "Another Time, Another Place," a film about Italian prisoners-of-war sent to work in Scotland during World War II.
The first couple of scenes tip us off. First, we see pale, repressed Janie (Phyllis Logan) wandering the moors and beaches of Scotland in her fine woolens and knee socks. She has blue eyes, a pinched look and says "Aye" a lot. Then, we meet Luigi (Giovanni Mauriello) and his olive-skinned pals from Naples. They mosey along the heaths singing Italian arias and saying things like, "Hmmmm, bella! You are verrrry beauuuutiful!" One could not imagine two mre unlikely lovers. And perhaps that's what makes "Another Time, Another Place" such an engaging movie.
When Luigi and Janie first meet, there is little time wasted on idle banter. The soldier from the south gets right down to business. "You like me?" Luigi asks. Janie replies, "Aye." With the ice being effectively broken, Luigi pops the big question, "Is possible, yes, we make jiggy jig?" Although Janie is suitably outraged by the request, it doesn't take long for her to succumb to the sensual thrills Luigi has to offer.
This film is strongest when showing the contrast beween Italian and Scottish cultures. In one scene we see the Scottish equivalent of a hoedown where men and women seldom mingle and a bottle of whisky is the highlight. Then we see Janie at an Italian Christmas party, where she joins in passionate dances with Luigi and the homesick prisoners of war.
In the climax, the lovers meet one last time before Luigi is to return to Italy. While they are trysting, however, a servant girl is raped, and all fingers point to Luigi as the culprit. Janie is left in a tight spot. Does she reveal Luigi's true whereabouts and save him from a long prison term? Or does she keep quiet to preserve her reputation?
The acting is strong, and newcomer Phyllis Logan gives a particularly effective performance as Janie. The views alone of Scotland -- Ross-shire and Inverness-shire -- would be worth the price of admission. But happily, "Another Time, Another Place" offers a good deal more. ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE -- At the Circle MacArthur III.