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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>
During World War II, American paratrooper John Kerr (as Gregory "Greg" Wendell) arrives in London on a 48-hour pass. Making his way out to find female companionship, Mr. Kerr collides with pretty French ballerina Leslie Caron (as Gaby). He is smitten. She is not. After watching her dance, Mr. Kerr visits Ms. Caron backstage. She gradually becomes interested and they begin a whirlwind romance. They want to consummate, but are unable to get married due to their alien status. Caron decides to "save herself" (like they used to say) while he goes back into battle. Alas, he's reported dead. Feeling bad about not giving Kerr something to remember, Caron decides to give it up for other soldiers...
It turns out the news about Kerr wasn't exactly accurate...
"Gaby" has been criticized for sanitizing the opening status of Caron's character and altering the original ending of Robert E. Sherwood's play "Waterloo Bridge" (1930), which previously impressed film critics in versions starring Mae Clarke (1931) and Vivien Leigh (1940). However, the important alteration is in timing; note, the explicit exchange where Caron ends with, "Not a man, Greg MEN!" The problem, this time, is that Caron shows little degradation during this period; she appears chic and confident, throughout. The different ending, while not as memorable, can be applauded for not punishing "Gaby" for her perceived "sinful" behavior. The revisions aren't as bad, as they seem...
Possibly restrained by the production values, director Curtis Bernhardt is unable to give the story enough intimacy...
Caron could have shown some interest in Kerr during their first encounters, and still been standoffish. They're supposed to be drawn to each other, as if they were destined to meet. This is touched upon in a scene hinting at reincarnation. The reincarnation mention may have also been included to support MGM's use of "Where or When" (by Rogers and Hart) as the film's theme. The timeless song is used well. Another revision is having Kerr sustain a symbolic wound; yet, it is another addition which doesn't fully take full advantage of the dramatic opportunities. Veteran stage actress Margalo Gillmore (as Helen Carrington) has a couple of outstanding scenes. In spite of all, the co-stars are a nice couple.