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.
In Paris, detective Claude Chavasse is hired to follow a wife suspected of infidelity with the notorious American libertine Frank Flannagan. When the husband learns that his suspicions are accurate, he tells Claude of his plan to kill Flannagan. Claude's daughter Ariane overhears the threat and warns Frank of the coming trouble. She then plays the part of a worldly socialite with a list of conquests as long as Flannagan's. The bemused ladies' man returns to America the next day and Ariane, completely in love, follows his romantic escapades in the news. She sees him again in Paris the following year, and resumes her worldly guise, telling tales of former lovers when they meet at his hotel in the afternoon. Frank, amazed by the mystery girl and surprised to find himself jealous of her past, hires Claude to uncover more information about her. When the detective realizes what has happened, he asks Frank not to break his daughter's heart. Written by
The movie was a critical and commercial disaster on release. Many critics felt that the 55-year-old Gary Cooper, whose health was rapidly failing, should have realized that he was far too old for the part and turned it down, as Cary Grant did. See more »
While in a fit of outrage Monsieur X rips off the 'Do Not Disturb' sign off of the door knob. Leaving the suite he stoops and picks up the now complete sign and places it upon the door knob. See more »
This is the city - Paris, France. It is just like any other big city - London, New York, Tokyo - except for two little things. In Paris, people eat better. And in Paris, people make love - well, perhaps not better, but certainly more often. They do it any time, any place. On the left bank, on the right bank, and in between! They do it by day, and they do it by night. The butcher, the baker, and the friendly undertaker. They do it in motion, they do it sitting absolutely ...
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Love in the Afternoon is a late 50s Wilder classic. At least semi-classic. The story is about a French girl who falls in love with a swinger from Paris. The girl is Audrey Hepburn and the man is Gary Cooper. The first act lags. The only thing keeping me glued to the screen is Hepburn, who has such a screen presence (she's pretty).
Recent comments have also noted Gary Cooper's miscasting. I'm not sure. I agree it's hard to believe Hepburn's character falls for him. The movie just doesn't work in his favor in the first act. It does begin to work eventually. The turning point would have to be at the picnic where he obviously starts to fall for her. Cooper falling for Hepburn: more realistic. From that point everything takes off. Cary Grant could have pulled off the attraction, but I don't think he could have pulled off the 2nd and 3rd act, and Cooper did. When he's sad (dictaphone/wine cart/sauna scenes) he's a top form comic actor. Anyways - I digress.
No one can produce the feeling of heartache with so much sadness and glee as Wilder can. The gypsy band should have earned a best supporting actors nomination.
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