Forever, Darling (1956) Poster

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It's okay...mainly for die-hard Lucy/Desi fans
hotcrossplums11 March 2008
First of all, I am a big I Love Lucy fan. I own this movie as part of the three movie DVD set (Forever Darling; Long Long Trailer; Too Many Girls). This is the least enjoyable of the three.

Even being a big Lucy/Desi fan, I didn't find much to enjoy about this movie. Even the funny scenes weren't funny. This is a pretty boring movie. It's kind of like a long, unfunny I Love Lucy episode in color. And when the two main characters fight, you can't help but think of how Lucy and Desi fought in real life.

I will say that the camping scenes looked so beautiful that it made me want to take my husband up on his standing offer to go camping together.
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Lame Comedy
kenjha2 June 2009
Although "The Long, Long Trailer" is an average film, it seems like a classic next to this anemic followup by Lucy and Desi, their second feature film during the run of "I Love Lucy." Lucy has a guardian angel who only she can see and she claims he looks like James Mason, which seems reasonable as he is played by James Mason. Lucy and Desi try to make the most of it, but the magic of the TV show is missing, thanks to a lame script about insecticides. Mason looks bemused, probably wondering what the heck he's doing in this movie. The cast features Schafer ("Gilligan's Island") as a meddling cousin and Kulp ("Beverly Hillbillies") as an impertinent maid.
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entertaining and good if dated marriage advice
Patmarie6 August 2004
Saw this today and enjoyed it very much. Lucy and Desi of course are great and here seemed more like real people and less like stereotyped caricatures. Though made in the Fifties, much of the relationship philosophy here seemed sound and to still ring true today. One need only to look at I Love Lucy to see that limited options for wives were a widely accepted norm at that time, but this film tires to question and break out of that. When Susan is told that she and her husband have been traveling two separate paths for a long time, she asks something along the lines of, "Does the woman always have to follow her husband's path?" Her angel laughs and says "Of course not!" but gives good reasons why that's what she needs to do at this point. The well-intentioned but scary Fifties attitude toward the environment was uncomfortable but the marriage advice seemed good. The Long, Long Trailer may have had more laughs but this was more satisfying. And anything that ends in Yosemite is a plus.
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Monika-521 July 2000
Lucy and Desi return in a film about what happens when the love starts to leave the marriage of their characters, Susan and Lorenzo. It's not a wacky comedy like The Long, Long Trailer or I Love Lucy, but it's more sweetly poignant and gently humorous. I especially like the scene where Susan and Lorenzo are at a movie and he falls asleep, and she screams and wakes him up right away! The startled, confused look on Desi's face is priceless! And for 60s TV buffs, Nancy Kulp (Jane Hathaway on the Beverly Hillbillies) and Natalie Schafer (Mrs. Howell on Gilligan's Island) are both in this film. Definitely worth renting.
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It seems to last forever...
moonspinner553 April 2008
Squabbling marrieds Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are given help from Lucy's guardian angel, played with self-bemusement by James Mason. The big joke in the material is that Ball's character sees the angel as a dead-ringer for Mason the Movie Star, but that's about the only laugh to be had in this leadweight scenario. Knowing what we do now about the troubled real-life relationship between Ball and Arnaz (big television stars by this point), it's only unease we get from watching them constantly bickering on screen. I doubt the film was very fresh even in 1956, mostly due to the turgid, hapless screenplay by the normally talented Helen Deutsch. Nothing on display here is diverting, with the jokes, costumes, pacing and production all sub-standard. Any mid-run episode of "I Love Lucy" runs rings around this comedic misfire. NO STARS from ****
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The Weakest of the Three Lucy - Desi films
theowinthrop13 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is not a total failure, as the three principles do mingle well, and they do try. Mason, the most dramatically successful of the three actors, actually could play comedy on occasion (think of him as the "chubby chasing" old goat in GEORGY GIRL) but his best work was in drama. In fact two years before this film his best remembered performance (as Norman Main in A STAR IS BORN) ended with that classic drowning suicide. Hardly a chuckle in that - though to be fair the complete film was to spoof some swashbucklers that Main was making).

Susan and Lorenzo Vega are an up-scale married couple (he is a chemist working on an insecticide) who have been married five years, but who seem to be drifting apart. The near explosion occurs when they are having dinner with two of Susan's friends (Nathalie Schaefer and Ralph Dunke) who are a wee bit too snobby and complacent for Lorenzo to really enjoy the company of. And since he is preoccupied with the deadline of testing his new powerful insecticide, he is not in the mood for their nonsense. He explodes at the dinner, causing them to leave in anger. Susan is also angry as they are her friends. So Lorenzo and she have a spat, and he does not sleep that night.

Enter Darling, the Guardian Angel of Susan. This is Mason. At first Susan is amazed that he resembles James Mason, but it soon develops that his features are not really like Mason's but she sees Mason because the actor is her favorite actor. He is trying to convince her that she has to work harder to save her marriage with Lorenzo. Susan has to try to be more supportive of her husband.

The complications that develop somewhat resemble another film of a few years earlier: THE BISHOP'S WIFE. There the angel (Cary Grant) falls for the wife (Loretta Young) of the Bishop (David Niven) he is trying to correct the religious motivations of. Grant spends far too much time "entertaining" Young, until Niven becomes jealous - hardly the intention of the angel's boss. Here Darling is not pursuing his charge. Instead he is fighting her off for awhile because of the way she sees him. There is a cute moment when Lucy is watching a film starring Mason and sees herself replacing the heroine. The interesting thing is that the film is reminiscent of Mason's original acting fame as one of those men (like George Sanders and Eric Von Stroheim) you love to hate - the star who whipped the villainess to death in THE MAN IN GRAY, or the nasty uncle of the piano protégée in THE SEVENTH VEIL. He is a sheik who is mistreating a female prisoner (who of course is falling for him while he does so). As a spoof on Mason's background it is mildly good.

Eventually he manages to get Susan back on track, leading to her going on the trek to Yosemite Park to test the new insecticide - to help her husband. And of course, being Lucille Ball, her attempts just drive Desi up the wall.

It is a tolerable if unmemorable comedy. That is the best I can say for it. But it has some moments worth waiting for. And with it, we leave the last of the three Lucy-Desi films. A curious bunch. Their best work is still the television series.
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"A" for effort but...
Itsamoomoo4 July 2001
This is a perfect example of how two great stars can make a bad film as a result of a very bad script. I love Lucy and Desi like everybody else, but getting through this movie is sheer torture. The fact that this movie has less than 50 votes indicates I'm not alone on this.
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Lucy and Desi are great in this movie!
wally-3825 March 1999
"Forever Darling" is Lucy & Desi's 3rd and last movie together. This movie is okay but its not the greatest movie in the world, but its not the worst either. I like the end with the camping trip.
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Forever Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
au_law200126 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I love those two. I'll never forget them, and I'll never forget that i Love Lucy show that kept me laughing. My parents loved them as well, and I watched with them. But this movie, is just wonderful and a classic by Lucy and Ricky. This is another one where they play husband and wife. A few spoilers herein. They are newly weds and after years of marriage they seem to loose the passion because they are worlds apart, but an angel appears, no wings or a halo, visits Susan and advices Susan to work things right with him. And she does her best to do things with him, even going to a trip with him, only to turn into a disaster. But in the end when things turn out right with the experiment, thanks to the angel, they end up getting along with each other, but even those you love the most are the ones you argue with the most, next to enemies and, something. Overall, I recommend this movie to all fans of the I Love Lucy Show. This is another story of husband and wife trying to keep things right, even through the good times and bad times, they love each other very much! And the song that Lorenzo sings at the end is also unforgettable. Lovely. Watch this if you want an alternative to all those crazy soap operas, or those sick of lovey-dovey Taiwanese or Korean soaps like Meteor Garden or Lavender, or those sappy love stories from animated or live Japanese shows like To Heart. It's Forever Darling!
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The ultimate bug spray
bkoganbing11 February 2015
Forever Darling was one of the attempts to make Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, arguably the hottest show business couple at the time this came out to make a jump to the big screen as a comedy team. It was mildly amusing, like a long episode of I Love Lucy.

The passion's just kind of gone out of the marriage of Lucy and Desi, sadly as it was in real life. She's a socialite and he's a scientist and that was the part of the film that I had the most trouble swallowing.

So after one boring evening once too often with Lucy's idiot cousin Natalie Schaefer and husband Ralph Dumke, Desi's ready to call it quits. But Lucy's guardian angel who appears in the form of her favorite movie star James Mason advises that she take more of an interest in Desi's work as a scientist. He's looking for the ultimate bug spray.

Lucy's not an outdoor girl, but she goes on a camping trip with Desi and that last third of the film is just one I Love Lucy episode. The inflatable rubber raft truly gets the better of both of them.

As for Mason he has an extended sequence when Lucy and Desi are watching a film that stars James Mason and Lucy in a blond wig. Mason satirizes himself rather nicely. For the rest of the film he looks somewhat uncomfortable.

Fans of Lucille Ball and they sure are legion in the part of the country I reside in which is Western New York state should be pleased with Forever Darling. But three episodes of I Love Lucy will satisfy your craving better.
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The End of Funny?
Sal Paradise16 February 2011
Nothing I add here will help this film, of course, unless you're a Lucy fan. For once, her energy doesn't work and she fails to do much of anything: romance, comedy or otherwise. As H.L. Menken once said 'it both shines and stinks like rotting mackerel'. Too bad. This is the last film Arnaz and Ball made together. Arnaz will never be seen again as an 'A' list star. Went right to the 'C' list. Not Ball, who not only survives but will go on to even greater heights and prosperity. Arnaz, the other way.

Sort of shows just who had the talent in the family.

'Forever, Darling' was supposed to be the first of many Desilu films.

The studio, known only for TV selected this film as their first project. The poor box office and critical reception it received led Arnaz to scrap those plans and close Desilu Films as well as his production company (Zenra). Desilu would not make another film until the 1968 release of 'Yours, Mine and Ours'. Arnaz had nothing to do with that film, didn't pick the script or push its being made. He did ensure the Studio keep an option on it, which at least kept it around as a vehicle for Ball. Which is why he got it.

While 'Forever, Dear' barely recouped the $1,250,000 production costs ($11,260,820.90 today) 'Yours, Mine and Ours' was made for $2,100,000 ($14,955,964.60) in 1968 and earned $36,000,000 ($256,387,964.60) at the box office and other rights. Ball, who was then the sole owner of Desilu Studios, made the film in partnership with Paramount Studios who had recently purchased her company and owned half of rights. When Ball went to the bank in 1969 her share from the movie was so big ($128,193,982.30)and unexpected that she had failed to cover her assets for income taxes and wound up taking a large hit.

Ball always seemed to walk away from her projects financially better. This continued with her new production company (Lucille Ball Productions (LBP)) who owned and produced her final major run series 'Here's Lucy'. The series earned a lot of money and enjoyed a brief spurt of high ratings in seasons 2-4. However, it was her first series that fell out of the top 20 programs (5-6). When she figured she had enough episodes in the can LBP/Ball sold the rights to it as well.

A quick note on the film and Arnaz. Arnaz was getting pretty cocky in 1956. He was at the top of the TV business and was staring in the top rated TV show and married to his co-star. He made Desilu considerable money but was under pressure to make more. To help free up his time he tried to distance himself from 'ILL'. It took up too much time and, not known then, forcing him to work with Ball, now something he hated. Arnaz wasn't jealous of her success but was seething with vile over the lack of recognition for what he did with Desilu. Ball propped him up, which made it worse. So, as a master stroke, Arnaz would bring in a clunker like this film and using his own skills make it work and show them all he had it.

The failure of the film was the first major failure for Arnaz and marks the spot where his career, and life, started to spiral downward. The film represented the last bold extension of Arnaz hubris. He stuck it out and got it cut off. He was never the same.

He remained as head of Desilu Studios until November 22, 1962 when he was ousted in a partnership coupe led by his wife and a team of bankers, lawyers, accountants and industry experts. He took a $3,100,000 ($24,947,973.33)buyout and then spent the next 10 years blowing all of it. He was broke by 1975 and forced to write his bio 'A Book' to earn money. He hung in there but basically out of the business. It was ironic, here he was, in the 1970's, a guy with a great resume in the biz but unable to find a job. His reputation was, outside of the Lucy franchise, not very good. Add his drinking and other very large issues and you've got a guy who's finished in Hollywood. Ball of course still loved him, and bailed him out of many problems caused by his drinking and his spending. Much of that area isn't widely known and has frustrated writers doing research. Ball didn't make it this far in show biz without learning how to keep her mouth shut.

That said, you know, this film is an OK watch if for nothing else the 50's connection. I read a 1956 review that gave the film high marks for production values, in particular the great outdoor scenes at Yosemite which were so typical of the era and for what the critic thought was a standard view of 1950's America. Maybe he meant the Arnaz marriage, which had made them the Royal Couple of the era. This film marked the beginning of the end of their reign. And, just like the Arnaz' marriage, the 50's would be gone and as we drive away we can see them in our rear-view mirrors, forever left back in that era. Maybe that is what the title means after all.
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Laugh away your marital discord !
S Srikant19 January 1999
The perfect film for settling marital irritations. Settle down with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, as they take you through a hilarious time while they settle all their marital incompatibilities. A must see for anyone who loves a good laugh.
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Lucy and Desi's mediocre followup to their classic "The Long Long Trailer"
Emaisie3928 June 2007
After the classic "Long Long Trailor"(1954) raked in millions at international box-offices, MGM allowed Desi Arnaz to produce a follow-up that was based on an old script that Metro was going to star Lucy in with William Powell back in 1945. Well this story about a married couple- a scientist and his domestic wife who seeks advice from an Angel played by the superb James Mason- does not work that well. Lucy is excellent and she gives it her all but the plot line is too fanciful. Some sections are quite amusing but overall it is not a success. Also Lucy looked so beautiful in their previous film but atrocious set design and flat color cinematography do nothing for Lucy's looks or the visual aspect of the film..It makes it look like its a lower budgeted effort. Desi did produce it on the cheap at their Desilu studios and it does look it. At least if the film had the gorgeous cinematography of "Trailor" it would not be such a let down. Nonetheless it has its entertaining moments and Lucy and Desi fans should eat it up.
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Nice light comedy romance and look at life after the honeymoon
SimonJack10 February 2015
"Forever, Darling" is a 1956 comedy-romance with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, It's also a nice story about how things change in the first years of marriage. And, how people can salvage the love they have to make it last a lifetime. Lucy is visited by her guardian angel who tells her that her marriage is on the skids. Unless she does something to save it, they will wind up following the paths of others whom the couple know who no longer have any romance. Lucy plays Susan Vega and Desi is Lorenzo "Larry" Vega who is a scientist-researcher. James Mason plays Susan's guardian angel.

Those who might expect some zany antics that Ball made her signature trade in her long-running TV sitcoms may be disappointed. The star kept that zaniness for her TV shows. Her films mostly have a nice blend of witty dialog, some crazy antics and other comedic situations; This film also has a dramatic element concerning marriages. Ball and Arnaz ended their marriage four years after this film. That' also when The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour on TV ended. The two had been together on that and the initial sitcom, I Love Lucy. Two years later, Lucy began her third TV series, The Lucy Show, which ran for seven seasons.

This won't have one rolling with laughter, but it will bring some chuckles. It's a nice comedy romance, in which we get to see Lucy mostly outside her trademark Lucy role. The zaniness takes over toward the very end. Susan decides to go with Larry on a field trip – a real field trip, camping out, to test a mosquito insecticide that he had been developing for five years.

Here are a couple samples of funny dialog. The first night out, Larry turns off the lantern in the tent. Susan, "This is some of the darkest dark I've ever seen. Larry, if you put the lantern on again, I think I'll sleep better." Larry, "Look, Susan, it's dark in our bedroom at home and you sleep all right there." Susan, "Well, there's a streetlight outside our bedroom at home. Boy, when it gets dark in a tent, it doesn't mess around."

In the morning they get into a raft on a lagoon. Susan has to row while Larry checks the water for mosquito larvae. Larry is impatient with Susan's rowing and she replies, "Us galley slaves don't row very well unless we're whipped." Later, after several mishaps, Larry begins chewing her out, in his native Cuban language. Susan, "If you're gonna bawl me out, bawl me out in English." He switches to English, and she says, "Never mind, go back to Spanish."
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"Guardian angels don't have wings, do they?"
classicsoncall16 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I think even die-hard Lucy fans, if pressed, would have to admit that there was something missing here in both the story line and the comedy elements. The Lucy/Ricky charisma of the TV show just wasn't there, and in retrospect, it's a bit sad to realize that the trouble in the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz marriage was being recreated in the dialog between their characters in this film. You wouldn't have known it at the time of course because these things were kept hush-hush for the sake of the TV show; I didn't know it back then because I was just a kid watching and enjoying "I Love Lucy". Oh well, one grows up to have those illusions shattered.

At least they look good together on screen, especially in the Technicolor format, even if they're fighting with each other most of the time. James Mason steps in as the ostensible guardian angel to try and help things along in the troubled marriage, but even he's absent once things get rolling during the camping trip. The 'Shadows of Africa' movie interlude had me going for a while, thinking it was a real movie credit for Mason until Ms. Ball showed up as the replacement Jungle Lady for the uncredited Marilyn Maxwell. That was probably the cleverest device the picture offered.

Back to that camping trip, I couldn't help thinking that the film makers borrowed a page from the Western genre when Ricky, er, Lorenzo Vega serenaded Susan (that would be Lucy) by the campfire with the title song. That was the highlight of the picture for my money, better than the tent gimmick or Susan's sleeping bag hip-hop that might have been better served with a laugh track, but otherwise just ho-hum within the story itself. For TV and movie fans, the other nice diversions were the characters of Nancy Kulp as the Vega's easily irritated housemaid, and Natalie Schafer in a decade prior warm-up for the role of wealthy Mrs. Thurston Howell on 'Gilligan's Island'. All said and done though, you're better entertained watching any single episode of "I Love Lucy".
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A mostly forgettable, cheap film with a pairing of Lucy/Desi..
Zaptharo19 February 2009
If there is one thing I dread more than sitting through a collection of modern bad flicks, it is those that are both old and bad. Unfortunately, many of the classics that were filmed in Hollywood's Golden Age and beyond are now mainly left forgotten, only to be pulled by those who are studying the history of film and television.

You may ask why I am reviewing such an old and mediocre film. Believe it or not, something off of Lucy prompted me to sit down and review this nostalgic, but mostly bad film. There is no doubt that I Love Lucy remains a classic show, and though I am not a fan of it or Lucy by any means, you can't deny the impact and status it has had throughout the years. This is the last of the three Lucy/Desi films and it unfortunately, is the weakest of the bunch.

If Lucy and Desi had to struggle for years on B-quality films to finally get their money's worth, Forever Darling certainly doesn't help. There are few to no laughs shown here, not even a hilarious gag or skit. The productions used are sub-standard, and just like most of Lucille Ball's other films, the sets look cheap. It was basically a comedy misfire, and there is nothing special to praise about in Forever Darling. I considered The Long, Long Trailer to be a funny but mostly average film about two of the biggest television stars of the 1950s. Nothing to get excited or look forward to. But Forever Darling takes the prize as being one of the worse films of the 1950s and early 1960s, when B-movies such as this title were being packaged and manufactured on a assembly line.

The only profit this movie got was the fans who were eager to see Lucy and Desi star in their last film together, before their marriage began to fall apart and would eventually get divorced from each other. Only fans of Lucy and Desi should see this movie, for which I am a fan of neither. It is a stretched out "I Love Lucy" sketch that failed to impress the audience. Do yourself a favor and either watch "I Love Lucy" as seen by the eyes of millions, or see the mostly average but funnier Long, Long Trailer. Forever, Darling is not the worst movie, but it certainly isn't worth mentioning if your looking for witty comedy and good chemistry.

Three out of Ten.
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See "The Big Trailer" instead.
MartinHafer3 July 2017
I am not a huge fan of Lucille Ball nor "I Love Lucy". It isn't that I dislike either...I'm just not particularly in love with them like many of their fans. However, I recently saw the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz film "The Big Trailer" recently and really enjoyed it...much more than I expected. So, when I saw TCM was airing "Forever, Darling" I thought I'd give it a chance. In hindsight...I wish I hadn't.

The film has a rather strange plot. After a few years, the marriage between Susan and Lorenzo (Lucy and Desi) has grown tense...and much of it is because Susan keeps friends around her which are toxic to their marriage. After a big row, a guardian angel (James Mason) appears to her repeatedly and Susan thinks she's losing her mind. However, eventually instead of running from him, she talks to the angel and he advises her that the marriage is in deep trouble and it's up to her to make changes. So, she agrees to go with Lorenzo on a long trek into the wilderness and hilarity ensues....or at least it was supposed to ensue.

The problems with the film all boil down to the writing. The basic premise is rather dumb but the bigger problem is the sit-com quality writing. For example, when Susan and Lorenzo spend their first night out camping, Susan almost instantly starts complaining...and no one is THAT annoying in real life. Within SECONDS it's one complaint after another--and the complaints are dumb ("it's stuffy in here", "it's too dark", "Larry (Lorenzo) the owl away", "Larry...I'm stuck in my sleeping bag", "I cut my's bleeding", "The Coffee is cold", "I can't eat bread without butter or spread"). The timing is just awful and you wonder why her husband doesn't just leave her then and there!!

Overall, I'd say this one is only for die-hard fans who will probably look past the lousy writing and lack of real comedy. Instead, I say find a copy of "The Big Trailer"...a film superior in every way.

By the way, I felt a bit sad while watching this film because only a short time later, Lucy and Desi actually DID end up divorcing. A sad case of life imitating art.
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Lucy and Desi, Part Two.
nycritic2 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Or "I Love Lucy, Episode Two: 'Forever Darling." This could very well be a first in more ways than one: two actors who had slogged through B-movies in unremarkable parts had by now become larger-than-life television stars due to their show, bought RKO Studios, converted it into Desilu, were beginning to produce other shows (who would go on to successes of their own), and to top it off, had broken the myth that television actors could not make the transition into the big screen. THE LONG, LONG TRAILER was proof of that and only bolstered "I Love Lucy" to greater heights. FOREVER DARLING was a way of cementing their TV personas in another feature film in which the same antics that had been the basis of every "Lucy" episode would be seen in a 90-minute movie while incorporating an element of Surrealist fantasy where James Mason makes his appearance as an Angel who intervenes in key moments throughout the film. It's an enjoyable little movie that doesn't try to pretend to be bigger than it is; lightning does not always strike twice, although here it just fails to hit its target dead-center because it essentially recycles much of the "I Love Lucy" stories. It is enjoyable, though.
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