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Grace hastily marries a French aristocrat during WWII, but is separated by circumstance from him for almost nine years. And when reunited, Charles's philandering causes them to divorce and share custody of their son, who never wants them to get back together. But that's not how they feel. Written by
Englishwoman gets swept up by a Frenchman during the war. They marry and he is gone nine years. He comes back, meets his son and they encounter his "distraction" during the interim. Their mores clash; they talkety talk and somehow it all comes right in the end.
Not a bad story. Anything can happen in the movies, right? Not this time. It played out that way, but nothing ever "happened" in this. It needed artificial respiration, but never got it. It just comes off artificial.
There are beautiful locations and sets. You think -- surely with Deborah Kerr. You think -- surely with Rossano Brazzi. There are attractiveness and talent available ... But it never connects in this very lame presentation. Brazzi just plods along with the program. Ms. Kerr tries to infuse enthusiasm several times, but, well, I was embarrassed for her. Chevalier approaches it bravely, just chattering along obliviously.
A reviewer excuses the actors and the director, but states "... many inconsequential, unbelievable, and spiritless emotional reactions, even in potentially dramatic situations. There is absolutely no chemistry between the leads." Actually, those elements are all exactly the province of the actors and director. How does a bad script keep actors from having chemistry between them, or from rendering appropriate portrayals? And, isn't the director supposed to be taking the pulse of things as it goes along? Where was he with the pervading false note in this? Was he hampered by the producer or someone else?
While Ms. Kerr is a gifted, beautiful and enduring actress, she doesn't pull it off every time. She can over-emote and requires some rein on that. Brazzi seems about the same in everything. No doubt, he is a gorgeous specimen, but his abilities are such that he can't carry it on his own. They could have both used some able directorial assistance here.
What happened? What didn't happen? Oh well, heed a warning and spare yourself. If you do, you can count that a blessing.
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