The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Up Late With Anna Maria Alberghetti

Posted on | June 21, 2011 | 13 Comments

Insomnia struck last night. It was one of those rare nights when I’d gone to bed early, before my wife did, and when Mrs. Other McCain came to bed, she woke me up by trying to pry the TV remote out of my hand.

So then I was awake, and although I drifted off a couple of times, I ended up flipping around the channels until I found myself watching part of the 1957 romantic comedy Ten Thousand Bedrooms with Dean Martin and Anna Maria Alberghetti.

The plot is a silly trifle: Dean Martin is Ray Hunter, the owner of a worldwide hotel empire (thus the “bedrooms” of the title) who comes to Rome and falls in love with his young secretary Nina, played by Alberghetti. Alas, custom requires that the youngest daughter can’t marry until her older sisters are married, so Ray must find husbands for each of Nina’s three older sisters.

Like Where the Boys Are (1960), Ten Thousand Bedrooms is sort of a cultural time-capsule giving us a glimpse at the attitudes toward romance that prevailed in the Eisenhower era. Some might look askance at the pairing of Martin, who was 40 when the film was made, with the 21-year-old Alberghetti, but c’mon: It’s Dean Martin. What 21-year-old could object to being wooed by that romantic crooner?

I’d never heard of Alberghetti, who was perfectly lovely as the ingenue Nina. Curiosity got the better of me — “Who is that girl?” — and so I got out of bed and logged on to find out. She’s now 74, and Dean Martin’s been dead for more than 15 years, but weren’t they wonderful in 1957?


Comments are closed.