6.2/10
1,659
53 user 21 critic

Darling Lili (1970)

Set during WWI, this movie is a cute spin on the Mata Hari legend.

Director:

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lili Smith
...
Major William Larrabee
...
Colonel Kurt Von Ruger
Lance Percival ...
T.C. Carstairs
Michael Witney ...
Lt. Youngblood Carson
Gloria Paul ...
Crepe Suzette
...
Major Duvalle
André Maranne ...
Lt. Liggett
...
Bedford
Doreen Keogh ...
Emma
Carl Duering ...
General Kessler
...
Otto Kraus
...
French General
Louis Mercier ...
French General
Arthur Gould-Porter ...
Sergeant Wells
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Storyline

WWI. Lili Smith is a beloved British music hall singer, often providing inspiration for the British and French troops and general populace singing rallying patriotic songs. She is also half German - her real last name being Schmidt - and is an undercover German spy, using her feminine wiles to gather information from the high ranking and generally older military officers and diplomats she seduces. Masquerading as her Swiss uncle, Colonel Kurt Von Ruger is not only her German handler but her lover. Kurt's boss, General Kessler, doesn't fully trust Lili as she is still half British. That is why it irks him that Kurt has entrusted Lili with the important mission of finding out more about the Allied air defense plans, the air which is becoming a more important battleground of the war. Of the five men who are most privy to such information, Kurt believes the best target is American pilot, Major William Larrabee as he is young, single and a ladies man. Lili is more than easily able to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She gave away secrets to one side and her heart to the other. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 June 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Darling Lili: Or Where Were You the Night You Said You Shot Down Baron von Richtofen  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$5,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(director's cut) | (with overture and exit music)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of the students' rebellion and strike that paralyzed Paris in May 1968, the movie producers moved to Brussels to film the major scenes (June-July 68). For example, it was possible to use the Superior Court building and transform the ground floor into a Paris railroad station with fake trains and a waiting room and all the other accessories. See more »

Goofs

In several interior scenes, Rock Hudson's hair style and sideburns are drastically shorter than in the rest of the film. This seems to give credence to the rumors of studio interference and the necessity of re-shoots. See more »

Quotes

Lili Smith: But then, why DOES he drink?
Maj. William Larrabee: Because he's afraid to fly.
Lili Smith: Then why does he fly?
Maj. William Larrabee: Because he likes to drink!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Paramount Pictures logo does not appear in the beginning of the film, only at the end of the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in Rock Hudson's Home Movies (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep the Home Fires Burning
Music By Ivor Novello (uncredited)
Lyrics by Lena Guilbert Ford (uncredited)
Performed by Julie Andrews (uncredited) and cast
See more »

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User Reviews

Not the Flop It Was Made Out to Be
12 January 1999 | by (Philadelphia, PA USA) – See all my reviews

It was 1970. Julie Andrews had hit her highs onscreen, and her star was starting to fade, at least in the public's eye. "Lili" represented another opportunity for Julie to change her image, coming right after the megamusical "STAR!" which didn't deserve the drubbing *it* received either.

Audiences didn't seem to care for this WWI musical drama. In fact, they were staying away in droves from ANY musical--drama or not.

The shame of it all is that this film, with its many classic moments, was stigmatized by the press who were gunning for Our Fair Julie and her new beau, writer/director/producer Blake Edwards.

But "Lili" really *is* worth seeking out. Julie sings beautifully, especially the haunting "Whistling Away the Dark," a lovely Henri Mancini tune that opens and closes the film. Her performance is nuanced and quite affecting--just watch her as a fat tear silently slides down her cheek after a tumultuous argument with Major Larabee.

Edwards has staged some stunning flight sequences, but the suffer somewhat, in 1990s sensibilities, from the blue-screen process shots needed to get Rock "into" midair. Edwards also can't seem to help himself from sliding into formulaic comedy bits (he apparently thinks a bumbling Frenchman with an umbrella on a roof in a rainstorm is hilarious--it shows up in film after film of his).

The reason to watch "Lili" is for its interesting spin on the Mata Hari legend and the performance of Miss Andrews, who certainly didn't deserve the brickbats that came her way following its release.


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