6.1/10
1,825
51 user 25 critic

Darling Lili (1970)

Set during World War I, this movie is a cute spin on the Mata Hari legend.

Director:

Blake Edwards
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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:
Julie Andrews ... Lili Smith
Rock Hudson ... Major William Larrabee
Jeremy Kemp ... Colonel Kurt Von Ruger
Lance Percival Lance Percival ... T.C. Carstairs
Michael Witney Michael Witney ... Lt. George Youngblood Carson
Gloria Paul ... Crepe Suzette
Jacques Marin ... Major Duvalle
André Maranne André Maranne ... Lt. Liggett
Bernard Kay ... Bedford
Doreen Keogh ... Emma
Carl Duering ... General Kessler
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Otto Kraus
Laurie Main ... French General
Louis Mercier Louis Mercier ... French General
Arthur Gould-Porter 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

24 June 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Darling Lili: Or Where Were You the Night You Said You Shot Down Baron von Richtofen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Geoffrey Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(director's cut) | (with overture and exit music)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was originally set up at Warner Brothers in 1967. 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: So what in the name of hell's vanity makes you think I'd compromise that in the name of your adolescent, narcissistic ego?
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 »

Alternate Versions

The original full-length version has been shown on television worldwide, and as of February 2006 on Turner Classic Movies. This version, including Overture and Exit Music, runs 143 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Rock Hudson's Home Movies (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Your Good-Will Ambassador
(uncredited)
Music by Henry Mancini
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performed by Gloria Paul
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Full Market Value Musical
20 June 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Recognized with three Oscar nominations Darling Lili was a big flop at the time and helped seal the fate of big budget musicals and Julie Andrews's career in them. They were getting just too expensive to make with all the talent that used to be under contract to a studio now charging full market value for services. Whatever else Darling Lili is it's a full market value musical film.

Set in the era of World War I, Darling Lili's best asset is its music. Two of the three nominations were in the music field for best overall score and to Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer for the song Whistling In The Dark. That one is an incredibly beautiful number that Julie Andrews sings perfectly. The original songs are integrated so well into the film that they fit perfectly in the era. More traditional World War I era songs are also used, no doubt all in the public domain by 1970.

Would that the score was attached to a better story. Wholesome Julie Andrews is a popular entertainer of the era, singing for the troops on the western front. She also doubles as a German spy. Her assignment which she accepts with gusto is to get involved with American air ace Rock Hudson and learn some military secrets. I think you can guess the rest.

Darling Lili lurches back and forth from cloak and dagger espionage to slapstick comedy in the extreme and it's an uncomfortable ride in the process. One of the characters is Lance Percival playing a drunken pilot in the Royal Flying Corps. I mean really, this guy should never have been in the RFC, the comedy which is good is severely out of place.

Film buffs will recognize some similarity to The Firefly and the British classic Dark Journey so if you know those films you know how this one ends. Fans of Rock Hudson and of Julie Andrews will like this and her singing is divine. The rest of Darling Lili is on a lesser plain.


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