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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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