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Fredrik Egerman is very happy in his marriage to a seventeen-year-old virgin, Anne. Only she's been a virgin for the whole eleven months of the marriage, and being a bit restless, Fredrik goes to see an old flame, the famous actress Desiree Armfeldt. Desiree is getting tired of her life, and is thinkin of settling down, and sets her sights on Fredrik, despite his marriage, and her own married lover Count Carl-Magnus. She gets her mother to invite the Egermans to her country estate for the weekend. But when Carl-Magnus and his wife Charlotte appear, too, things begin to get farcical (Send in the Clowns), and the night must smile for the third time before all the lovers are united. Written by
This is probably one of the most maligned film versions of a stage musical ever made. And a while some of it's criticisms are well deserved, this film certainly has it's benefits. Among the better parts of the film there is, above all, Diana Rigg's Charlotte. Rigg ranks as one of the most under-appreciated actresses of all time, and her performance is simply pitch-perfect. It is also fortunate to have Len Cariou, Laurence Guittard and Hermoine Gringold re-create their stage roles, and Lesley Ann Down is a lovely addition, well cast as Anne, even if she doesn't do her own singing.
On the downside, the setting of the film is unwisely moved to Vienna, where there is . no midnight sun, and much of the score is eliminated. And then there is the controversial casting of Elizabeth Taylor as Desiree. Taylor is a very gifted actress, but in this role Taylor is simply a black hole, overly dramatic and lacking the warmth and joy Glyinis Johns brought to the stage role. Still, since it is based on one of the finest musicals of all time, this film deserves a DVD release
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