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Peter Mark Richman
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The fashion industry and Paris provide the setting for a comedy surrounding the mistaken impression that Joanne Woodward is a high-priced call girl. Paul Newman is the journalist interviewing her for insights on her profession.
Today Lady Louise Lendale is 80 years old and she tells her long time admirer, British poet Sir Percy, all about her eventful life. In the beginning, she was a young laundress working in "Le Mouton Bleu", a renowned Paris whorehouse. There, she met Armand, both a charming man and a bomb-throwing anarchist, and it wasn't long before she became his mistress. One day while Armand was away in Switzeland, working for a revolutionary movement aiming to murder a Russian prince, Louise met the second man in her life,, a British Lord she soon called Dicky. The latter offered to marry her. In exchange, he would save Armand from the police's grip. She accepted on the condition she could still see Armand... Written by
This is the British Aristocracy, when the legend becomes fact print the legend.
Sophia Loren is cast in the title role of Lady L whom we first see like Jeanette MacDonald as an 80+ woman who with some prodding from her dear friend poet Cecil Parker is about to tell her scandalous life story. Believe me this woman has seen things and done things that would shock the proper British society that she's married into. MacDonald in Maytime had a story to tell in flashback and come to think of it so did James Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Back in the day Sophia was a laundress and one of her main clients was a prominent French brothel and it was there she met thief and anarchist Paul Newman and her later husband David Niven who provided a title and the good life in the United Kingdom. How both effect her life and story is the basis of Lady L.
Loren while in old lady character sounds a lot like Martita Hunt, I wouldn't be surprised if she dubbed her, if not Sophia does a real good imitation. Newman is not quite right for the part, they should have gotten someone really French like Yves Montand.
As for David Niven he just saunters through the film as David Niven. His good friend Peter Ustinov both wrote and directed Lady L and Code restraints being what they were Niven if it were done today would be more explicitly gay. That would far better explain his position and the relationship that develops afterward between all three of the principal characters.
Lady L is not bad, but it suffers from some miscasting and too much Code imposed discretion.
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