Conversation Piece eschews the usually operatic, museum-like pix of Luchino Visconti for a touching tale of the generation gap and the loss of life-contact of an intellectual.
A prof (Burt Lancaster) is addicted to collecting 18th-century British paintings of families called Conversation Pieces. Into this comes a haughty, middleaged, but still beautiful Italian woman who wants to rent his upstairs apartment.
Lancaster is finally persuaded by her, her cute teenage daughter and her rich fiance. There is also the mother’s lover, a young German (Helmut Berger). The professor gets tangled up with the young people despite himself.
Visconti has kept this talky but rarely verbose pic in the two apartments with only an outside studio view of Rome. The assorted accents are justified andeven the peppering of blue lingo Americanisms fit these jet setters Lancaster is highly effective as the professor.