Friday, December 7, 2007

Love in the Afternoon

Love in the Afternoon; romantic comedy, USA, 1957; D: Billy Wilder, S: Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier, Van Doude, John McGiver, Lise Bourdin
Paris. Claude is a private detective who masterfully reveals numerous extramarital affairs, and he is the busiest in the summer when the American Casanova Frank Flannigan is in town and constantly seduces married women. One day Claude's daughter Arianne overhears that one customer wants to shoot Frank because he has an affair with his wife. She runs off to the hotel and warns Frank, thereby saving his life. She also falls in love with him, but doesn't reveal her name to him. He hints that he doesn't expect love from their relationship, but gets surprised when after some time it is finally revealed she is the detective's daughter. In the end he also falls in love with her and brings her along his trip.

Brilliant director Billy Wilder is one of the few authors who deserve to be called a genius, among other because he showed ambitious, big themes and messages in a simple and fun way, but he often had obstacles of the external factors against which he had to fight. One of those obstacles in his romance „Love in the Afternoon“, that subtly talks about a hedonistic womanizer who finally falls in love, is the appearance of Gary Cooper – who stepped in after Cary Grant's decision was to to refuse the part, even though he could have been so much better as a comedian – who doesn't function the best, not as much because he is too old as much as he, at least here, does not display a sense for comic timing, which automatically reduced the film's quality. Still, despite that and a few silly dialogues, everything else is masterful: from the amusing exposition (the narrator says how in Paris people „kiss more“ so then there is a whole montage of romance shown:a kissing couple that doesn't even pay attention that it's getting splashed by water by a truck passing by, an undertaker kissing the widow on the funeral, statues kissing...), through the comment of Arainne (great Audrey Hepburn, nominated for a Golden Globe as best actress in a motion picture - musical or comedy) how some cases of the affairs that her father the detective is investigating are „very romantic“ up to the frame of her holding a frozen flower in a glass.


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