Man About The House, A

1970. A MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE (1947-England). WITH Margaret Johnston, guy M1DDLETON, FELIX AYLMER. Directed by LESLIE ARLISS. A subtle, well-acted drama of manipulaÂtion and repressed passion, in which drab Victorian England and English folk are contrasted to sunny Italy and sensuous Italians. The lime is the first decade of the 20th-century. Sisters Agnes and Ellen Isits are proper, prim British women who run a proper, prim school where little girls are taught how to act like young ladies. To their surprise, the sisters learn that a long-lost relative has died, and left them a hefty yearly income and a vast estate with an olive grove, located just south of Naples. Agnes, the stuffier of the pair, is always grumpy, while Ellen is warmer and more receptive to new experiÂences. They travel lo the villa, which is being run by Salvatore, a handyman-butler. Salvatore might be described in more modern terminology as a hunk. He is handsome, charming, masculine and immodest; whenever possible, he is seen bare-chested, and there is more than a hint of scandal about him. “It’s our duty as Englishwoman…not to succumb to these lax foreign ways,” Agnes warns Ellen. In spite of this, it is Agnes, rather than Ellen, who surrenders to the earthy Salvatore-who, it is revealed, has a hidden agenda. It seems that the villa once was owned by Salvatore’s family. At first, the women plan on selling the property, but it quickly becomes clear that Salvatore will do whatever he deems necessary to keep it “in the family,” The director, Leslie Arliss, a former journalist and CritÂic, is the son of the beloved British actor George Arliss. 92 minutes. Drama