6.2/10
1,644
53 user 21 critic

Darling Lili (1970)

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

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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
Jacques Marin ...
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
Edit

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:

For a spy, love is the deadliest enemy. 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening number, "Whistling in the Dark," is performed by Andrews in a single, uninterrupted take. 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

T.C: Nice to see you up and about again... even though you are... sitting down.
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 »


Soundtracks

Mademoiselle from Armentieres
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

Put it out on DVD, fer Chrissakes!
8 May 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews' timing couldn't have been worse when this

film was released in 1970. Musicals were dead as a doornail, and only

Streisand was given the benefit of the doubt. Julie Andrews, a monstrously

talented, uniquely beautiful singing actress was finding that she was out of step with Hollywood who wanted grittier stories with nudity and violence. Thirty- some years later, we find this is a terrifically entertaining piece of film-making, which brings out all of Blake Edwards trade-mark gifts and lapses.

First of all, it's way too long. Secondly, the screenplay doesn't give you a real clue whether we're talking about a musical comedy or a war drama with Lily

confusing you about her secret life as a spy. Okay, deal with it. The movie is a wonderful brew of entertainment, nostalgia, sweet sentiment, and first-rate

musicality.

Like Doris Day a decade before her, Julie Andrews has one of the great screen figures. She's simply beautiful with her oddly spaced eyes and her slightly

comic nose. But those limbs are gorgeous, her skin is also a thing of wonder. Nobody does frosty British authority better than Julie, and her crystaline voice is a warm, pliant instrument with the clearest diction you'll ever encounter. She sings in a very modern way, but with plenty of old-fashioned vocal refinements such as portamento and legato. She's always been a game comedienne, and

she is a huge screen presence. She's first-rate here and would seldom be

allowed to shine as superbly again (Victor/Victoria aside).

Rock Hudson is clearly her equal. Still handsome, dashing, and convincing as Lily's American flying ace lover, Hudson exudes charisma and comic panache.

Again, he would never quite come up to this level in films again, and we would only be able to glimpse his excellent light comic skills on TV in the well-done mystery series, McMillan and Wife.

I love Mancini's score, and the supporting cast is everything you could wish for, especially Jeremy Kemp's lovable spy aid to Lily. Edward's displays his gift for wonderfully comic set pieces. It's a bit forced at times, but these are first-rate craftsmen working at the top of their game.

Why it has never appeared on VHS, laserdisc or DVD thus far is beyond me. I

know the failure of the movie at the box office soured Edwards and perhaps he is locked into a battle of wills with Universal determined to teach them a lesson by withholding his permission. Wishful thinking on my part perhaps, but it is odd that its never been been available in a home entertainment format. TV

showings don't help either because they have cut it to smithereens to fit various formats. The first time I saw it, I was totally confused. A few years later, I had warmed to it considerably and I think it was due to a more coherent cut.


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