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Robert Walker Jr.,
A war correspondent who was stationed in Paris during WW II married a French girl who was murdered by the Nazis. After the war he returns to to try to find his son, whom he lost during a bombing raid but has been told is living in an orphanage in Paris. Written by
Little Boy Lost was made by Bing Crosby under the most tragic of circumstances, his first wife Dixie Lee Crosby was dying of cancer while he was on location in France. He finished the film and returned only days before Dixie died. Crosby's performance has a special poignancy attached.
The story is simple, Bing is an American correspondent along the lines of Edward R. Murrow or William L. Shirer who's stationed in Paris before World War II. He meets and falls in love with singer Nicole Maurey and they marry and have a son.
He gets an assignment to cover the retreat at Dunkirk and then when the French surrender he can't get back to Paris. Later he learns his wife is killed by the Nazis and his little son is missing.
All this is told in flashback and narrated by Crosby and then we get to the main part of the film, the search for Bing's lost little boy. He thinks he's found a young boy who might be his kid and becomes attached to him. What happens to him, the little boy and the grief he still feels over his dead wife is the rest of the story.
After the flashback prologue the action is carried by both Crosby and little Christian Fourcade who plays the lad. The film would have laid one big egg if these scenes were not done well. Fortunately they were and had their been a category for a juvenile actor performance, young Master Fourcade would have won hands down. He is a sad, confused little boy and comes across as a real kid, not a young Hollywood kid.
Nicole Maurey plays Bing's wife and of course she's killed off early in the film. This was the first of two she did with Crosby, the second being High Time which was certainly in a lighter vein than Little Boy Lost. She heads the list of French players who support Crosby in this film. Also Claude Dauphin who plays Crosby's best friend does a fine job as well.
Little Boy Lost also marked the last film that lyricist Johnny Burke worked with Crosby. This was an association that started in 1936 with Pennies From Heaven. He wrote more words that Bing Crosby sang than anyone else. Burke came to a parting of the ways with his collaborator Jimmy Van Heusen and died eleven years later.
Bing did not get a ballad to sing here, quite unusual for a Crosby picture. He sang some children's songs, Apropos De Rien, The Magic Window, and Ce La M'et Egal. I guess you can see the French origin of these, Nicole Maurey got to sing a ballad, Mon Cour Es Un Violin which Bing recorded for the cast album in English as Violets and Violins. A nice number, I wish he'd done it on the screen.
However the French version did appear on an album he did a little bit later on that was done completely in French and released in Europe. Most Crosby fans have never heard this and it's a rarity here in America.
A great acting job by Crosby and the cast in a nice feel good family film.
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