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Many things about this movie are charming and have a wistful quality that brings you into its story.
First of all, and I offer my apologies to the absorbing performances, to me the most fascinating aspect of this film is the location; PARIS. But not just any Paris. This is a during and post-WWII Paris. Although released an amazing 8 years after the end of the war, much of the charm of a Paris which lingers in our hearts is still there. This is not travelogue picture with dancing Americans to a Rodgers score. There is a very true-to-life depiction of, what I call, the most elegant city in the world.
This movie tempts us to fall in love again with Paris. All politics aside, please. We see a Paris which many a serviceman or woman probably fell in love with during the war. We see the sights in and around Paris, there are some views of Fontainebleau just outside of the city which make me want to go back and suffer the awful Summer heat inside of it again just to see the gorgeous architecture there.
Second, I liked this story because it ran true. It has few Hollywood formulas -- even to the end it tempts us to see stories like these as they really were. Some happy, some not so. Another reviewer complained about "pidgin French - English" which was heard throughout the movie. I must say that whatever it was, it did not offend my ears and I have friends who live in Paris and have similar accents when they speak English. The accents did bother me -- and neither did the French without subtitles. I do remember a time when Americans knew more about the French language and were proud of it. I still am.
Yet, all through this we have a love story which develops and then unravels due to bureaucratic entanglements.
Finally, if you must see this for one reason, see it for the story and the deft performances. Kirk Douglas, it seems, never made a bad picture - or at least he never gave a bad performance. Every one was absorbing - brought you in, gave you permission to involve yourself with the situations in them. This is not exception. It is a low-key performance, true. But it is no less absorbing than anything he ever did.
Of course there was gorgeous Dany Robin as Kirk Douglas's love interest. Her portrayal of a shy, innocent French girl was perfect considering she was voted "nastiest French actress" that same year. She had a fabulous French career and worked with many famous directors, including Litvak, who also directed "Sorry, Wrong Number", "The Snake Pit" and "Anastasia".
I recommend this to those viewers who still have a little romance in their hearts - but walk with a dose of reality down every turn of their adventures.
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