The Barefoot Contessa – I Hate Shoes: Maria (Ava Gardner) recalls her childhood and explains to Harry (Humphrey Bogart) why she hates to wear shoes.
Maria Vargas : When I was a little girl, like so many others, there was no money to buy shoes for me. And when the bombs came, in the civil war, I used to bury myself in the dirt of the ruins to be safe. I would lie there, safe in the dirt – and wiggle my toes and listen to the noise – and dream of someday being a fine lady, in fine shoes. I hate shoes, Mr Dawes. I wear them to dance and to show myself. But, I feel afraid in shoes. And I feel safe with my feet in the dirt.
Harry Dawes : What are you afraid of?
Maria Vargas : The same as everybody else. The same as you. Of being exposed and unprotected. Like Mr Kirk Edwards without his money. Like you, as you used to be without your drink – or now without your script girl, who loves you. Like me, in my shoes and on display for men and women to examine – for different reasons.
Washed-up film director Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart) gets a second chance at stardom when he discovers stunning peasant Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner) dancing in a nightclub in Madrid, Spain. Goaded by his producer, strong-arming Wall Street financier Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens), Harry convinces her to screen test for, and then star in, his next big picture. But as Edwards’ possessive nature and the realities of stardom weigh on Maria, she seeks a genuine lover with whom she can escape.
TM & © Key Video (1954)
Cast: Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz