Willie Bauche, a Hollywood producer, becomes so obsessed with turning his wife, Ann Garantier, into the sexiest star in Hollywood that he neglects her real needs. Feeling lonely and tired ...
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In 1848 NYC, a Frenchwoman visits exiled former French Marshal Thevenet to ask for his financial help in behalf of his French grandson but Thevenet's house staff schemes to kill him and take his fortune.
Willie Bauche, a Hollywood producer, becomes so obsessed with turning his wife, Ann Garantier, into the sexiest star in Hollywood that he neglects her real needs. Feeling lonely and tired of Tinseltown, Ann returns to her native France and finds herself attracted to Marco Ranieri, a handsome and very attentive pilot. When Willie hears about the budding affair, he flies into a rage and hires assassins to kill his rival. Unfortunately for him, the killers are romantics and decide that Ann and Marco are so in love that both must die so they can be together always. When Willie finds out, he rushes over to France to try and save his wife.
So consistently terrible, it takes on a peculiar fascination...
Henry Fonda nearly quit the movies after getting a look at this thing, a backstage-Hollywood comedy-drama by Nunnally Johnson, loosely adapted from Romain Gary's novel "The Colors of the Day". Johnson also produced and directed the picture, and therefore deserves most of the blame for what's on the screen. Famous actor-director Fonda becomes smitten with struggling actress Leslie Caron after watching her do a screen-test and quickly turns her into a formidable star. It's at this point in the film where we see fake movie titles zig-zagging across the screen ("Between Heaven and Hell", "Mademoiselle X"), signifying success, and later get a preposterous scene of Fonda shouting down Caron's agents for their lack of direction (isn't he running the whole show?). Fonda compares his lovely discovery to Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman, but we just don't see it. Leslie Caron is attractive here, but sullen and with a deep, monotonous voice. When she supposedly wins an Academy Award, we don't see that triumph either (the statue is super-imposed over a starry background--along with MORE zig-zagging movie titles!). Johnson obviously knows the world of show-biz inside-out, but here he gives us the outer-workings of the movie-making world without any of the inner-workings. Caron and Fonda wed, but she quickly tires of his one-track mind--she wants to be a newlywed forever--and runs off with an Air Force Major while in France. Fonda wants the handsome home wrecker dead and orders a hit on him, but changes his mind when he thinks his wife might be killed too, and so chases after the Mutt and Jeff team he's in-cahoots with while dressed as a harlequin clown. It's too silly for words. *1/2 from ****
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