The Empty Canvas

The Empty Canvas is a 1963 Italian drama film directed by Damiano Damiani. The screenplay by Damiani, Tonino Guerra, and Ugo Liberatore is based on the best-selling novel La Noia by Alberto Moravia. The film stars Horst Buchholz, Catherine Spaak, Isa Miranda and Bette Davis.

The Empty Canvas
Italian film poster
Directed byDamiano Damiani
Produced byCarlo Ponti
Screenplay byDamiano Damiani
Tonino Guerra
Ugo Liberatore
Based onLa Noia by Alberto Moravia
StarringBette Davis
Horst Buchholz
Catherine Spaak
Music byLuis Bacalov
CinematographyRoberto Gerardi
Edited byRenzo Lucidi
Compagnia Cinematografica Champion Les Films Concordia
Distributed byEmbassy Pictures
Release date
4 December 1963
Running time
105 minutes


Mediocre artist Dino is obsessed with young model Cecilia and distraught that she shares her sexual favors not only with him, but with actor Luciani as well. In an effort to derail her plan to vacation in Capri with his rival, Dino proposes marriage, and when she rejects his offer, he invites Cecilia to join him at the Rome estate of his domineering mother, a wealthy American, in the hope that he can seduce her with his glamorous lifestyle. Despairing that he will never have a monogamous relationship with her, he crashes his sportscar into a wall. While recovering in the hospital, he realizes his feelings will never be reciprocated. When Cecilia returns from her trip assuming their liaison will continue, Dino announces that the affair is over.

Principal cast

Principal production credits

Production notes

The film was released in Italy as La noia (Boredom) and in France as L'ennui et sa diversion, l'érotisme (Boredom and its Diversion, Eroticism).

A dubbed English language version of the film was released in the United States by Embassy Pictures in 1964.

Critical reception

In his review in the New York Times, Howard Thompson observed, "under Damiano Damiani's studied direction, the incidents move in stilted, crabwise fashion... Miss Davis... is truly a sight, looking like a Pekingese under a blonde bob and growling an atrocious Southern accent... At times, especially under-scored by Miss Davis's withering expression and lava lingo, the picture's overripe sexuality is downright funny." [1]

Time magazine said it "is one of those "international" movie projects that appears to have been dreamed up by its principals... in a spirit of reckless unity... It is chiefly notable for the fun of watching Davis breast the New Wave plot with bitchy authority... Stretched too far to be believable, Canvas is the kind of overdrawn foolishness that frequently proves diverting." [2]

See also


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