An American World War I soldier, whose disfigured face is reconstructed by Austrian plastic surgeons, returns home after twenty years, but no one recognizes him, his widow is married to another man, and his son is a grown young man.
New York stenographer Marilyn David meets Englishman Charles Gray and they fall in love. But Charles leaves town and Marilyn discovers he is a duke's son and already engaged. Marilyn confides in her platonic friend, reporter Peter Dawes, who publicizes her as the 'No Girl' who refused nobility. So Marilyn cashes in on her unwelcome notoriety by becoming a cafe entertainer; in an unexpected way, she succeeds. But can she decide between her two loves? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Characters played by Ray Milland and C. Aubrey Smith are clearly identified in plot as "Charles Gray, Lord Granton" and the "Duke of Loamshire" respectively, but in the closing credits they are listed as "Charles Gray [Granville]" and "Lloyd Granville." See more »
But popcorn - ah, popcorn was made for watching the world go by. Look. I stick my hand in the bag without taking my eyes off the street. I throw some popcorn in my craw. I chew... and I'm still looking. That's what I call class.
Sure. Peanut eaters don't know how to live.
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Claudette Colbert was given two of Paramount's up and coming leading men in The Gilded Lily which holds up very well today because it talks about the cult of celebrity. Ray Milland and Fred MacMurray co-starred with her and in MacMurray's fifth film he became a star.
Fred's a reporter and Claudette's a secretary and they have a regular Thursday date on a bench near the main public library in Bryant Park in New York. They talk about the state of the human condition while munching on popcorn. But one fine day Claudette runs into Ray Milland who is traveling incognito in the USA, he's a titled English Earl whose got a playboy reputation and a fiancé back across the pond.
MacMurray as it were happens to spot Milland and his father C. Aubrey Smith as they're boarding the boat back for the United Kingdom. His reporter instinct takes over and he breaks the story of Milland and Colbert and overnight he creates a celebrity, 'the No Girl.'
What to do, but try and exploit this all around and Claudette working class secretary one day becomes a celebrity like Zsa Zsa Gabor, Pia Zadora, or Jessica Hahn. The cult of celebrity was just beginning back in the day and The Gilded Lily is one of the first films to deal with that phenomenon.
Though MacMurray got his big break in this film after four other films which he didn't make much of an impact, the film really does belong to Claudette Colbert. She's got some great comic moments here, getting drunk and passing out under a nightclub table while MacMurray and owner Luis Alberni are discussing putting her in his club.
Of course Claudette doesn't sing or dance or do card tricks, so what will she do once she gets there. Another great moment is Claudette taking singing lessons from an exasperated Leonid Kinskey. This might have been the inspiration for the scene where Fortunio Bonanova tries to resign from giving singing lessons to Dorothy Comingore in Citizen Kane. Of course this one is played strictly for laughs as poor Colbert tries to croak out a song.
Claudette Colbert doesn't sing or dance or do card tricks, but give her her due as one of the best screen comediennes films had back in the Thirties. She's at her very best in The Gilded Lily and what the film says about celebrities and what it takes to be one is probably more true today than back in 1935. Don't miss this one if broadcast
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