Time: 111 mins.
This film is direct proof of how important marketing is to the success or failure of a movie in Hollywood these days. A DANGEROUS BEAUTY is a remarkably well-acted romance with an intriguing story and stunning art direction, but no one would ever know that because the studio didn't gave it a stitch of a chance to succeed at the box office. I heard that it was good, but never saw a damn thing about it. Which is too bad because this is an extremely well-done film that lingered in my psyche for several days after viewing and that rarely happens to me anymore. I guess one of the reasons A DANGEROUS BEAUTY was such a hard sell is because the lead character is a courtesan a high-class one to be sure, but a prostitute nonetheless. The fact that the story takes place in the 1500's in Venice, Italy does take the edge off a bit. I can understand the inherent problems of your heroine living a life most people consider evil or at the very least highly unsavory; however, she doesn't really have much choice in the matter.
Veronica Franco, played fabulously by McCormack, is a commoner and not allowed to marry the man she loves (he's a member of the upper class). So instead of either becoming a nun or settling for a man she doesn't really want, she chooses the life of a courtesan. Believe me, this is the choice any smart and sane woman would make given the alternatives at that time. As a courtesan, she's free to come and go as she pleases, is wined and dined by the wealthiest men in the city, wears the most fabulous clothes, gets to have sex without retribution and most of all is allowed to become educated. After all, one must know a lot about the world in order to converse with worldly men. Her choice becomes much easier to swallow after her childhood friend Beatrice (Kelly) is married off to a man old enough to be her father (whom she doesn't love) and Marco (Sewell), her childhood love, succumbs to his family's wishes. Being the eldest son, he is expected to make a match that will further the family's future both financially and politically. All Veronica can offer Marco is her heart, and though he loves her, it's not enough for him to rock the boat.