An orphaned young woman becomes part of a puppet act and forms a relationship with the anti-social puppeteer.An orphaned young woman becomes part of a puppet act and forms a relationship with the anti-social puppeteer.An orphaned young woman becomes part of a puppet act and forms a relationship with the anti-social puppeteer.
Lili looks fabulous, the fantasy ballet sequence and Caron's scene with Zsa Zsa Gabor is shot in richly beautiful Technicolor, the puppets still look great- plus they manage to bring a slight creepiness too- and the MGM French village set is made superb use of. The Oscar-winning music score by Bronislau Kaper has plenty of appropriate whimsy, without falling into sugary sweet territory, and rousing lushness, while the song Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo lilts beautifully and accompanies one of the most memorable scenes in the film, in which Caron is seen singing along with the puppets, even more impressively.
The script is both witty and touching, handling a potentially difficult subject inspiringly and only in Stand by Me has coming of age been portrayed more honestly in film. The story is slight but never dull or too thin; it has the right amount of sweetness, has such a poignant charm and brings a big smile on viewers' faces afterwards. The Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo and fantasy ballet scenes are the most memorable, but youngsters surely cannot fail to delight in Jean-Pierre Aumont's dazzling magic tricks. Talented Charles Walters directs expertly, and even features in the fantasy ballet.
In terms of the performances, there are no qualms here either. Leslie Caron positively enchants here, while Mel Ferrer brilliantly brings a sympathetic edge to an at times dark role, particularly telling when with the puppets. Zsa Zsa Gabor is incandescently classy, and Jean-Pierre Aumont makes his magic tricks memorable and children and adults alike will love them.
All in all, irresistibly charming and has quickly become a personal favourite. 10/10 Bethany Cox
- Jul 6, 2015