The United Artists release was filmed at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome. It served as the basis for the unsuccessful 1979 stage musical Carmelina and the plot of the enormously successful stage musical Mamma Mia! and its 2008 movie version.
To protect her reputation, as well as the reputation of her unborn child, Carla has raised the girl to believe her mother is the widow of an army Captain named Campbell, a name she borrowed from a can of soup (she is very fond of Campbell's soups).
The movie opens twenty years after the end of World War II service, and the three men (accompanied by their wives, and in one case three obnoxious children) attend a unit-wide reunion in the village they liberated. Carla is forced into a series of comic slapstick situations as she tries to keep them - each one anxious to meet his daughter for the first time - from discovering her secret, while at the same time trying to keep Gia from running off to Rome to be with a much older married man.
In the New York Times, Howard Thompson stated, "This overcooked, hardbreathing frolic, which gets off to a bright start, eventually collapses in the category of impossible comedies, sniggeringly pegged to sex . . . the reasonable taste, the bounce and the logic all start floundering about midpoint, with everyone running wildly to catch up, including poor Miss Lollobrigida, who bears the brunt of the confusion and the redundant contrivances. Suddenly it's gags, gags and more gags, to no avail, until the plot peg of authentic paternity begins to sound like a tired, old burlesque joke. The finale is as dull as the opening chapter is sprightly."
Constance Backhouse and Nancy L. Backhouse, The Heiress Versus the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell's Campaign for Legal Justice.(Book review)
Sep 22, 2006; Constance Backhouse and Nancy L. Backhouse, The Heiress Versus the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell's Campaign for Legal Justice...