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
Laurie Main ...
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:

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A very troubled production, the film went way over budget and was a box office flop when released. Blake Edwards used the experience of making this film as the inspiration for the script to S.O.B. (1981). 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

Maj. William Larrabee: Think we can do it?
T.C: Yes, but YOU'D better fly, cause I haven't been drinking.
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

Referenced in A Decade Under the Influence (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Long, Long Way to Tipperary
Written by Jack Judge (uncredited) and Harry Williams (uncredited)
Performed by Julie Andrews (uncredited) and cast
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surprised this isn't on tape or DVD
29 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After 35 years, I've seen this film again; the 136 minute version at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City's East Village. They also showed the 114 minute version which, according to their production notes, is darker in tone, since it's missing some of the comedy of the piece. Certainly some of the cutesy comedy, which Blake Edwards, the director/producer/writer, also seems to be enamored of in his Pink Panther movies, could be cut.

The film is an attempt to make a mature, romantic musical and was a big flop at the time. Edwards was married to Julie Andrews, the female star of the movie. Andrews had a great success with "Mary Poppins" a few years earlier, and a phenomenal success with "The Sound of Music." She tried repeating the success with the awful (but, perhaps, commercially successful) "Thoroughly Modern Millie," and had a stinker with "Star!", the Gertrude Lawrence story. "Star!" was an adult musical, but it didn't take, so "Darling Lili" was another try at breaking Andrews' goody-two-shoes image. She says "ass" in the movie twice and "bastard" once! The scenes I remember most from the first screening in 1970 are the striptease by Suzette (Gloria Paul) and the aerial sequences, which are pretty dazzling (except for the obvious process shots). In fact, the whole movie is quite lavish and Andrews is gowned and bejeweled beautifully. Edwards seems to have studied the films of Vincente Minnelli and is better at creating some of the Minnellian tone than George Cukor was with the dull "My Fair Lady." In fact, Minnelli was making a movie - "On A Clear Day..." - at Paramount the same time "Darling Lili" was being produced. "...Lili" went into major cost overruns, which could account for "...Clear Day..." being so lackluster in its modern scenes, since major money was being pumped into the Andrews/Edwards film.

The movie isn't terrible. In fact, it's quite charming, if a little long. But the movie-going public is fickle, and Julie Andrews musicals fell quickly out of favor. Rock Hudson is enormously likable as always, but has little to do. The production design is delightful, and it's fun to see Andrews do her striptease (which may not be in the shorter version, and I'm thinking that must have been the version I saw in 1970, because I think I would have remembered it).

Maybe the movie will come out on DVD now that they are showing two versions in NYC. The print was beautiful, by the way. It even included the overture. The audience was a poignant collection of solitary film nerds, not excluding myself!


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