Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
This film is something of a forgotten gem. Biographies of Billy Wilder don't usually dwell too long on his time in the German film industry, yet the Wilder touches are apparent in the witty script of this terrific comedy. Example: Jou Jou tells the two window cleaners she was part of a novelty act called 'Ding and Dong'. 'Which were you?' they ask: 'I was the "and"' she replies - cut to a shot of the petite actress being flung about the stage like some human beanbag by two burly circus athletes. The two big musical numbers, 'We don't pay rent anymore' and 'Somewhere in the world there's a little bit of happiness' stand up well after all these years (they were written by Werner Richard Heymann, who went on to have a career composing film scores in Hollywood after the Nazi takeover in Germany). The lead actors are all on terrific form here - Lilian Harvey is charming, natural and never looked or sounded better, Willy Fritsch is at his boyishly likable best and Willi Forst, who went on to direct sophisticated comedies with much wit and flair himself, makes an able sidekick. The English language version retained Harvey, who was herself London-born.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?