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 ... See full summary »
A struggling young actress with a six-year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Helen tells Charlie that they should go home to the USA, in one shot Charlie is facing her and grabs her upper arms, and in the next he is no longer holding her arms and is off to her right. See more »
False and dated Fitzgerald but hard to resist nonetheless
Advancing F. Scott Fitzgerald's Babylon Revisited from the jazz-age Paris of the `Lost Generation' to the late 1940s and early 1950s looks logical enough, one World War being much like another, but a certain piquant period flavor gets lost. The madcap behaviors and post-Victorian motivations that made sense in the age of corset-free flappers and expatriate wastrels seem dated in the more efficient, streamlined age of jet travel. The way the characters ruminate about life back home in the United States, you'd think they'd colonized Mars rather than taken lodgings near the Eiffel Tower.
Amid the city-wide orgy of V-E Day, Army correspondent Van Johnson meets two sisters: Donna Reed, who gives him the eye, and Elizabeth Taylor, who catches his. Their happy-go-lucky father (Walter Pidgeon) isn't rich but lives like it (`It's cheaper that way,' Taylor explains). Taylor and Johnson marry, have a daughter, and party in an upper-crust social whirl, while he types out multiple drafts of The Great American Novel. How they (or Pidgeon) can afford their high life goes unmentioned, and when they suddenly come into money, thanks to some Texas oil wells that start gushing, there's little detectable change in the texture of their lives.
Except for disaffection. Johnson drinks more heavily as the rejection slips pile up (Pidgeon advises him that the secret to success is mediocrity). Taylor starts ditching the kid at bistros while she's off jumping into fountains. Three sheets to the wind, Johnson speeds off in his sports-car with Eva Gabor riding shotgun, but his reckless driving comes to naught (twice). Both partners play at adultery but never actually engage in it. Occasionally Reed, a frosty smile frozen on her face, pops up to register her smouldering resentment against Johnson. But then Taylor, of such delicate constitution that she has been known to contract flu not from microbes but from a gentle rain, gets soaked to the skin when she's locked out of the house at dawn and slogs her way through the slush...
Given these melodramatic excesses, Richard Brooks keeps the movie refreshingly low-key; he draws a subdued and affecting performance from Taylor (at the dizzying pinnacle of her young beauty). There are some missteps (Johnson having a drunken argument with himself; Roger Moore as a tennis-pro gigolo; a comfy wrap-up that comes off as forced and abrupt), but Brooks keeps the proceedings passably watchable. This heady, romanticized peek into the life of Americans abroad has its allure, and, though you don't believe it for a minute, it makes you want to sip a Pastis and light up a Gitane.
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