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
When Ariane returns one of her father's files to a locked safe and opens it by banging it with her fist, a thin wire used to pull open the safe is visible. 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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This has always has been my all time favorite romantic comedy. Thanks to Billy Wilder's creative genius this film works despite Gary Cooper being miscast as the leading man. Regrettably, Gary Cooper was not only too old, but lacked the charm and suaveness needed for the role. Cooper was also in the twilight of his career and was suffering from health problems when the film was made. Cary Grant or Gregory Peck would have been more appropriate for the role of Frank Flannagan, the womanizing jet setter who falls madly in love with the daughter of a detective who has been investigating him. Nevertheless even with a miscast Gary Cooper the film works ....thanks to the marvelous performances of Audrey Hepburn and Maurice Chevalier, who play the young innocent musician daughter and her snooping, pooping private detective father. The title song "Fascination" with original music by F.D. Marchetti and Franz Waxman serve as a romantic thread that runs tightly through out the entire cinematic heart throbbing experience. Billy Wilder's more noted films such as "The Apartment" and "Some Like It Hot" may have garnered more recognition than this film over the years, but in my opinion none of them have the charm that this film has to offer. In fact if one is willing to "What if?", and trade off Gary Cooper for Gary Grant for the role of Frank Flannagan, I suspect that that this film would have been right up there with the best romantic comedy of all time, "It Happened One Night".
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