Ava's Signature Film, The Barefoot Contessa, to be Shown During the Sixth Annual Ava Gardner Festival

Festival Celebrates Ava's Life and Career

Smithfield, NC, August 21, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Each year the Ava Gardner Museum celebrates Ava's life and career by hosting the Ava Gardner Festival. This annual event includes heritage tours, screenings of classic Ava Gardner films, and special exhibits.

This year’s festival will kickoff during the Ava Gardner Festival Gala on Friday evening, October 8th and will continue Saturday, October 9th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The 2010 Ava Gardner Festival marks the 10th anniversary of the Ava Gardner Museum.

During the Festival, the classic Ava Gardner films The Barefoot Contessa and The Night of the Iguana will be screened at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield during the afternoon of Saturday, October 9th. That evening at 7:30 PM, the musical Show Boat will be screened at the Neuse River Amphitheatre, 200 Front St., Smithfield Town Commons. All film screenings are free to the public.

The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
The Barefoot Contessa opens at the burial of Countess Torlato-Favrini and is told in flashback by her friend Harry Dawes and her studio press agent Oscar Muldoon.

Has-been director Harry Dawes (Humphrey Bogart) gets a new lease on his career when independently wealthy Kirk Edwards hires him to write and direct a film. They travel to Spain with a studio press agent Oscar Muldoon (Edmond O’Brien) to see the dancer of a nightclub, Maria Vargas (Ava Gardner). Maria, a naive woman with simple origins, is convinced by Harry to go to Hollywood and becomes a famous star. As she continues her successful career, she meets the noble and handsome Count Vincenzo Torlato-Favrini in the French Riviera. Maria believes she found her prince charming but after the wedding, she discovers her new life is anything but a fairy tale.

The tagline of the film was “The World’s Most Beautiful Animal,” and it would haunt Ava for the rest of her life. The Barefoot Contessa would prove to be the film audiences most identified Ava with and is considered her signature role, although many believed Maria to be based on the life of Rita Hayworth. Ava really did enjoy being barefoot and although she learned flamenco for the role of Maria Vargas, she immediately fell in love with the dance and for years after would often stay up well into the night dancing.

The Ava Gardner Museum is located in downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street and more information may be found on the museum website, www.avagardner.org or by calling 919-934-5830. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm with admission of $6.00 adults, $5.00 seniors and groups and $4.00 children.

Ava Gardner Museum
Jessica Meadows Hammett