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Charles returns to Paris to reminisce about the life he led in Paris after it was liberated. He worked on "Stars and Stripes" when he met Marion and Helen. He would marry and be happy staying in Paris after his discharge and working for a news organization. He would try to write his great novel and that would come between Charlie, his wife and his daughter. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Near the end of the film, when Helen is wearing the red dress, Charlie comes home drunk and puts the chain on the door. The chain is a lot longer than a normal door chain, at least 12 inches. When Helen comes home later and tries to get in, the chain is now much shorter. It's now the length of a normal door chain. See more »
This film was made in 1954, and by virtue of its age it becomes an easy target for those who would use it as a vehicle to pump up their own egos with a verbal bashing that will likely go unchallenged. The film has indeed been bashed, here on this database among other places, as unimportant and unworthy of your time as a possible rental choice.
I disagree completely with the uncalled for bashing, and with the judgement that the movie is unworthy of your time. See it for yourself. And if you are young enough to be completely unfamiliar with all of the actors, so much the better for you to judge it fairly on its merits rather than be snowed by the reputations of Hollywood personalities.
The plot has depth and very few weaknesses, the acting is good to very good, and the story has interest value in both historical and social frames of reference.
The plot concerns the uniting of two people whose tragic flaws are not well matched, with the obligatory tragic results. The pair gets together spinning out of a near-miss love triangle. The man (Van Johnson) has no idea of the existence of the triangle, as he is completely taken with Taylor and just as completely forgets his earlier attraction to the other woman (Donna Reed). Reed, the rejected third wheel, is actually not rejected, per se, but becomes the "odd man out" none the less when her sister (Liz Taylor) successfully steers the affections of the duped Johnson in her own direction instead.
Reed adopts the persona of the rejected party to a relationship that never was, and exacts her revenge later in the film.
While the big name actors of the day are no longer influencing moviegoers today, they undoubtedly sold the film in 1954. I find some weaknesses in both acting and directing, but the film is definitely worth seeing if you have never had the pleasure. Van Johnson's role is that of a fairly shallow character with a good heart but no follow-through to carry him to victory until way too late to do much good. Johnson possibly could have done more with the role, but the weakness of the character should not be confused with some partially perceived weakness in Johnson's delivery of the part.
Taylor does a nice job as the sly and experienced older sister, the one with the better looks and the Machiavellian technique to get whatever she wants, again at the expense of little sister Reed. The film is actually carried more by the acting of the supporting cast than by the efforts of the leads. Two very strong performances are put forth by Walter Pidgeon and George Dolenz. Pidgeon plays the opportunistic pretender to wealth and father of the two women. Dolenz is the earnest lover of Reed, who inherits her full-time attentions only after Johnson is fully occupied with Taylor. Dolenz marries Reed and in the end does a very nice job of becoming the film's heroic figure.
Eva Gabor at the peak of her youthful beauty does a good job as yet another love triangle component for the easily side-tracked Johnson after his marriage to Taylor. Another triangle develops with a very young Roger Moore finding the eye of Taylor.
Do yourself a favor and see this movie.
Dan Cooper is a freelance writer/editor. He has been writing for over 30 years and has done book and movie reviews sporadically since the 1970's.
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