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Five Golden Hours (1961)

A petty crook gallantly consoles wealthy widows and is doing all right in his chosen profession until he meets and falls in love with a lovely baroness, who knows all about get-rich-quick ... See full summary »


Mario Zampi


Hans Wilhelm




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernie Kovacs ... Aldo Bondi
Cyd Charisse ... Baroness Sandra
George Sanders ... Mr. Bing
Kay Hammond ... Martha
Dennis Price ... Raphael
Clelia Matania ... Rosalia
John Le Mesurier ... Dr. Alfieri
Finlay Currie ... Father Superior
Reginald Beckwith Reginald Beckwith ... Brother Geronimo
Avice Landone ... Beatrice
Sydney Tafler Sydney Tafler ... Alfredo
Martin Benson ... Enrico
Bruno Barnabe Bruno Barnabe ... Cesare
Ron Moody ... Gabrielle
Leonard Sachs Leonard Sachs ... Mr. Morini


A petty crook gallantly consoles wealthy widows and is doing all right in his chosen profession until he meets and falls in love with a lovely baroness, who knows all about get-rich-quick schemes. The crook evolves an ingenious swindle geared to the time differential between New York and Rome and works it on his string of widows, but the baroness takes off with the dough. The crook flees to a mental home to escape the wrath of his victims. Written by alfiehitchie

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Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »


The Escapades of a Merry Widow With a Credit Card at the Cemetery! See more »




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UK | Italy



Release Date:

10 March 1961 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Schöne Witwen sind gefährlich See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to Michael Bentine's, "Memoirs The Long Banana Skin", Bentine started filming a supporting role in this project but was taken ill and replaced by another actor. See more »


Gabrielle: Ah, that Roberto. But why did he have to cheat?
Raphael: Debts! More than 160 million lire. And he figured that by gambling with our money he could pay off his debts and us. But...everthing just went pffff!
Gabrielle: And that's when he went...over the cliff?
Raphael: Oh, no. No. He told Sandra about his predicament and she, nice girl that she is, gave him all her jewellery but that went pffff in the same way.
Gabrielle: Well, it was decent of Sandra to have given him all her jewellery.
Raphael: As matters now stand, you'll get back about 2 ...
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User Reviews

Very Funny British Comedy
16 October 2009 | by reader4See all my reviews

Aldo Bondi (Ernie Kovacs) is an assistant undertaker in a small town in the hills of southern Italy. He starts off basically as a gigolo (albeit a Platonic one), supplementing his income with donations from grieving widows that he meets and comforts at the funerals he arranges.

Unfortunately for him, he falls badly for one of them, Baronessa Sandra (gorgeous Cyd Charisse). At a party at her modern villa, he hears from the upper-crust guests, all of whom are male, about a scam pulled on them by the Baronessa's late husband called the Five Golden Hours. He is fascinated by the con, which convinces the marks that it takes advantage of the five hour time difference between Italy and the New York Stock Exchange but is actually a Ponzi scheme.

He decides to try it himself, and although things start out well, as soon as the Baronessa betrays his trust, things go from bad to worse. Aldo goes from the frying pan to the fire to between a rock and a hard place. Every creative stratagem he thinks of, while it does extricate him from the current predicament, ultimately lands him in an even worse one.

In the last of these, he ends up with Mr. Bing (George Sanders) as a roommate (I won't reveal where), as nasty a part as Sanders has ever played, every bit as cynical and heartless as Addison DeWitt in "All About Eve," but much more jocular and jovial about it. Rather than just being scornfully amused at the misfortunes of others, he revels in them delightedly.

Finally, just as Aldo is about to actually come out of everything smelling like a rose, the wave of his life crashes against the Rock of Gibraltar of the Baronessa again, and his hormones prevail over reason once more.

This is one of only a handful of movies Kovacs ever made before his untimely end, and as far as I know the only one in which he played the lead. It is very nice to see him in such a large part, and he is well able to handle it (even doubly, in one scene). He does not exhibit the breadth of his comedy genius the way he did on his TV show, with one exception: the scene where he tries (successfully) to convince some people that he is cuckoo. His character is more like that in "Bell, Book and Candle," rather laid back and on the quiet side. In this movie, he says his mother taught him the paramount importance of two things: kindness and thrift. His kindness is foremost throughout, and even though he is a scam artist, you can't help but love him and root for him the entire way through.

This is a black comedy in many ways, not a wild, whacky, joke-a-second riot like the Marx Brothers. It reminds me more of Alec Guiness's Ealing comedies or Peter Sellers's films from the late fifties and early sixties. The laughs are not in one-liners or sight gags, but in the development of the plot and characters and particularly the increasingly outlandish situations in which they find themselves. The spectacular town and mountain scenery of Italy also add to the enjoyment.

"Five Golden Hours" is charming, delightful and overall a very funny movie.

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