Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
Fashion photographer Dick Avery, in search for an intellectual backdrop for an air-headed model, expropriates a Greenwich Village bookstore. When the photo session is over the store is left in a shambles, much to salesgirl Jo Stockton's dismay. Avery stays behind to help her clean up. Later, he examines the photos taken there and sees Jo in the background of one shot. He is intrigued by her unique appearance, as is Maggie Prescott, the editor of a leading fashion magazine. They offer Jo a modeling contract, which she reluctantly accepts only because it includes a trip to Paris. Eventually, her snobbish attitude toward the job softens, and Jo begins to enjoy the work and the company of her handsome photographer. Written by
In order to secure Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire on the cast, producers told each the other was already signed, figuring they would not pass up the opportunity to work together. See more »
In the darkroom scene, the print is left in the fixer for an insufficient amount of time; an experienced photographer, like Dick Avery is supposed to be, would not make this mistake. See more »
Let me show you something.
[Serving wine and speaking in a friendly tone]
Gentlemen: may I take this opportunity to tell you that you look like a mess of worms? And that you not only look like a mess of worms, but you ARE a mess of worms. And I'll bet you've been sitting at this table all these years because if you ever left it you'd be picked up on a vagrancy charge.
Old French men:
[Nod and smile in enthusiastic agreement]
Your defense rests.
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Enjoyable Enough as Long As It's Not Taken Too Seriously
As long as you do not take the premise or the characters or the plot too seriously, this is an enjoyable movie with an interesting pairing of Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, plus an excellent supporting performance by Kay Thompson and some good-looking settings and scenery. The musical numbers are pleasant, if rather on the light side. Stanley Donen has the right touch in keeping things together without making the seams show too often.
Hepburn is cast in a somewhat unexpected role, as a drab intellectual store clerk who gets involved with Fred Astaire's (much older) photographer character. Audrey is so charming that's it's very difficult to think of her as a wallflower, and while Astaire is as energetic as ever, there are more than a couple of occasions on which the relationship doesn't really look believable, despite the best efforts of the two stars. The plot isn't supposed to be anything weighty anyway, so perhaps that's the price you have to pay for a rather different pairing.
Kay Thompson provides many of the best moments. Sometimes the satire of trendy philosophy comes off well, at other times it gets a little dull. Not to be forgotten are the colorful and interesting settings and backgrounds, which set off the story and music fairly well. It's sometimes a strange combination, but as lighter entertainment it all works well enough.
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