Avanti. 1972. USA/Italy. Directed by Billy Wilder. Screenplay by Wilder, I. A. L. Diamond, based on the play by Samuel Taylor. With Jack Lemmon, Juliet Mills, Clive Revill. 35mm. 144 min.
Every summer for the last 10 years, American businessman Walter Armbruster Sr. has spent one month in Italy—with his mistress. When Walter Sr.’s Fiat goes off the road, killing the trysting couple, Walter Armbruster Jr. must bring his father’s body back to America. In Italy he is astonished to meet Pamela Piggott, the daughter of his father’s lover. Over the course of this comedy the bodies go missing from the morgue, and Italian customs officials can’t figure out how to process the paperwork, so Armbruster’s body is scheduled to “travel” by diplomatic pouch! Though he was nearing the end of his directorial career, Billy Wilder’s humor, sight gags, and screenplay are as sharp as they were at the start of his professional life.