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 1930, in Belgium, Gabrielle van der Mal is the stubborn daughter of the prominent surgeon Dr. Pascin Van Der Mal that decides to leave her the upper-class family to enter to a convent, ... See full summary »
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 »
Ariane washes her hair and is rubbing it with a towel just after Frank Flannagan leaves her apartment. Moments later, her hair is completely dry and perfectly styled. 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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Charming, beautiful love story, well done despite seemingly improbable casting.
This charming romance restores ones belief that the improbable, no matter how unlikely, has, to paraphrase Conan Doyle, the ring of a singular truth and beauty. The author and director clearly knew a lot about love. I guess my admiration for this film proves that after 30 years in a single blissful relationship, I am still an unabashed romantic. This film is what it's all about. I feel sorry for those art-film historians who fail to be overwhelmed by the depth and charm of this piece and would rather pick it apart with their overly dissecting, maddeningly analytic tweezers, missing the point entirely. Their lives must be rather cold and empty.
This film works. Wilder's genius pulls it off. How many among us know of numerous life-long loves where the age difference between the lovers would appear prohibitive but proves to be only a minor obstacle to a lasting relationship. In my experience life imitates art. In this work it is the very difference in their ages and the differing circumstances of their lives that attract Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn's characters. It is the differences that are extra-normal that make this story so believable. He is attracted to her utterly captivating refined insouciance and she to his masculine-straight forward worldly charm. He is the best of the fantasies she has constructed from her father's (Maurice Chevalier's) detective business files, and she is precisely the down home girl with her wits about her who knows his world and his past and loves him anyway.
Why is it the desire of all those incapable of suspending disbelief even a smidgen to turn every work of art into a highly predictable, formulaic mouthful of insipid pre-stamped pabulum. How shallow. Or perhaps I am not only overly romantic but additionally overly democratic. I am proud to see that at least the positive vote count for this film, that is the large number of 9 and 10 votes, more accurately reflects the quality of this timeless vignette, than do the rather sour comments that I have just read. If you have half a heart you will laugh and cry and truly love this film!
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