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In 1848 NYC, a Frenchwoman visits exiled former French Marshal Thevenet to ask for his financial help in behalf of his French grandson but Thevenet's house staff schemes to kill him and take his fortune.
Gaby is a ballet dancer in 1944 London who happens to bump into a corporal Greg while rushing to catch the bus. Greg is mesmerized by Gaby and goes to the ballet to see her on stage, but Gaby is French and wants nothing to do with Greg. But he persists and by the end of the day, she agrees to marry. But before they can marry, there is a mountain of red tape and Greg ships out while promising to marry Gaby on his return. When she hears that he has been killed, she makes herself available to anyone who would want her. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
This film is a re-make of "Waterloo Bridge" which I saw many years ago. It was an atmospheric love story with sterling performances from Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor. The original play was by Robert E. Sherwood, also known for "The Petrified Forest".
This re-make fails on several counts. First of all there is almost no atmosphere. There is beautiful saturated color and cinemascope, neither of which add anything specific to the story. Furthermore, the sets in many scenes, especially at the end in the bombing, are so obviously fake you can almost imagine stagehands picking up the pieces for the next performance.
Second, no matter how hard she tries, Leslie Caron is not convincing as a prostitute. As a dancer, yes. When she abandons dance for prostitution we do not see a transition. She gives as a reason for her actions remorse over sending Greg away before their love was consummated. Now that he is dead, she wants to give others what she deprived him of. A rather shaky rationalization.
Third, no matter how hard he tries John Kerr is incapable of playing a grown-up. He is forever the boyish young man, awkward in speech and movement.
The film does not have a smooth trajectory. The individual scenes seem to be patched together.
The ending, likewise, is not convincing. He forgives her as if all she had done was to ruin the soufflé. They seem like two kids in love playing around with adult games.
The fault for all of this lies in the general concept of this particular re-make, which the producers obviously felt had to be more sugar-coated for the audience of the mid-fifties, unwilling, no doubt, to accept Leslie Caron as a bad girl. But in the end, nothing is gained by this strategy.
However, there is still some charm - almost unavoidable when Leslie Caron is the star - and some moments that show the promise of what might have been a very good movie.
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