Shirley MacLaine playing seven differtent characters against equally different men
Shirley plays the lead in seven different stories in Paris in different love situations. The best one is the sixth, a marvellous travesty of Marcel Carné's "Le jour se lève" with Jean Gabin and Arletty, and almost identically in the same squalid hotel, where Shirley and Alan Arkin intend to do themselves in, but there are arguments about it. This is great fun and Cesare Zavattini and Vittorio de Sica at their best. The other episodes are rather uneven, but the second one, where Shirley comes home to find her husband (Rossano Brazzi) in bed with another woman, whereupon she runs out in the streets in a panic and happen to a bunch of prostitutes in the park, who decide to help her, while her husband comes running out in the streets after her in his pyjamas, is also well written. The tendency of the others is that you will eventually get a bit tired of finding only Shirley MacLaine in all of them - there is a little of Anita Ekberg in the last of them, but not much. All other characters are subordinate. It is entertaining on the whole, but you don't laugh much, while instead you find some situations rather awkward and painful, like the luxurious opera spectacle with Patrick Wymark in a typical role of his. Peter Sellers is excellent in the very first episode, which is the briefest. In brief, this is not one of de Sica-Zavattini's best works, but it has some excellent highlights.
- Nov 21, 2020
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