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As a golden age movie fan I was curious as soon as I saw the listing for this film. It seemed bewildering that I could be unfamiliar with an MGM film from the 50's starring Miss Anne Baxter in Technicolor, set in Paris and directed by the legendary Mitchell Leisen?
Well now I know how. What's bewildering is that a film with those advantages could turn out like this. While visually beautiful this is a flatfooted, turgidly paced suspense film missing the suspense. A very blonde Anne tries to breath life into this but she seems edgy and a bit lost. However like everybody else in this her character is poorly defined. In addition she has the titanic task of acting opposite Steve Forrest, never the most facile of actors, who is beyond wooden in the lead. In no way does he suggest any sort of spirituality or a sense of real conflict with the decisions before him.
He can be blamed somewhat for the failure of the movie but the two main culprits are the nonsensical script and Leisen. Usually able to turn out either saucy concoctions like The Mating Season, Midnight and Kitty or solid dramas along the lines of Hold Back the Dawn and Swing High, Swing Low he is off his game here on how to turn this dull lump of coal into something resembling entertainment.
The film is beautiful to look at, taking advantage of its location shooting with breathtaking views of Paris. Pretty pictures however are not enough to make an entertaining movie. The film is not painfully bad but it is a mediocre effort at best.
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