In Paris, wealthy Charles Bonnet is well known in the art world as a collector of rare pieces, mostly of the impressionist masters. He will on occasion sell paintings from his collection at auction. In reality, he is an art forger, he only reproducing those pieces known to have gone missing. His daughter, Nicole Bonnet, wants him to stop this business fearing that some day soon he will get caught. She is most concerned about he loaning out his Cellini Venus statue to the Kléber-Lafayette Museum, as she knows that technology can now test for things such as material age which would prove that the statue and by association he is a fraud. He ends up causing a problem for himself when he signs a $1 million insurance policy for the statue for the museum, which unwittingly allows them to test the piece for its authenticity. To save her father from jail, Nicole feels the only thing she can do is try to steal the statue from the gallery which may not be the easiest thing to do especially as ...Written by
Leave aside for the moment the two leads, Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole, both at the very pinnacle of their star power and attractiveness. Leave aside, too, the brilliant support of two comedy masters, Eli Wallach and Hugh Griffith. And the sheen of William Wyler's direction, honed to perfection over a long, award-winning career. And the sparkling dialogue of old-pro scenarist Harry Kurnitz. And the beautiful location photography in that most beautiful of cities, Paris. And John Williams' sprightly score, and the rich production design, and the exquisite costumes, and every other perfectly-executed facet of this gleaming gem of a film. And concentrate on one single moment: in the museum, in the cupboard under the stairs, when Audrey Hepburn's character realizes that Peter O'Toole is going through everything he's going through, including breaking the law even though he's a policeman, simply because he's fallen in love with her. The expression on Hepburn's face is one of those truly sublime moments that make movies what they can be: bigger than life, more real, more joyous, more true. And for that alone we can be grateful that this movie is available for us and our posterity to enjoy.
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