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Members of a circus troupe "adopt" Lili Daurier when she finds herself stranded in a strange town. The magician who first comes to her rescue already has romantic entanglements and thinks of her as a little girl. Who can she turn to but the puppets, singing to them her troubles, forgetting that there are puppeteers. A crowd gathers around Lili as she sings. The circus has a new act. She now has a job. Will she get her heart's desire? Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
This film was based on The Saturday Evening Post 's Paul Gallico's short story "The Man Who Hated People," which was inspired by the children's puppet show "Kukla, Fran and Ollie". See more »
When Marc plays a magic trick with his cigarette at the notions store, he actually burns Lili's hand, right before playing the trick. We can see Lili jerking her hand apart, but she keeps on watching Marc as if nothing has happened. See more »
Of all the popular overblown, oversexed "coming of age" movies (mostly about male coming of age - starting with "The Summer of '42"), none has the honesty and truth of "Lili". Why? Because coming of age has less to do with sex (as most men think) than it has to do with an awareness of evil. The most telling line in the film is spoken by Paul's partner, who chides Paul for slapping Lili and says, "She is realizing that there is cruelty in the world, and she is learning to protect herself from it." Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, Lili's loss of innocence comes with her knowledge of evil, not her loss of virginity.
And unlike other coming of age movies that have the young actors tossing around "cute" sexual comments that don't ring true for a callow young person (because they were obviously scripted by a jaded 50-year-old male), "Lili" rings true with every note (as Paul says, "She's like a little bell that gives off a pure sound every time you strike it."). Her naivety is far more true to form -- when she is warned by one of the puppets that the lecherous puppet Renaldo "is a wolf", the innocent Lili replies, "I thought he was a fox." This is exactly the way a kid would really respond -- not "getting" the sexual reference and thinking that the comment was about the species of the animal.
I understand Audrey Hepburn beat out Leslie Caron for the Oscar that year with her amateurish performance in "Roman Holiday" -- what a travesty that was, since Audrey's performance had none of the depth and exquisite vulnerability of Leslie's performance in "Lili".
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