Starring: Gary Cooper, Audrey Hepburn, Maurice Chevalier
Director: Billy Wilder
Set in Paris, a private detective (Chevalier) is tasked with catching a middle aged playboy Frank (Cooper) with client’s wife. When his daughter Ariane (Hepburn) overhears that the client plans on killing Frank, she heads to his hotel to rescue him, and ends up pretending to be an experienced woman of the world in order to not seem like the innocent young thing she really is.
When you think about it, Ariane is way too young for the middle aged Frank, but once you get past that, this is a film where Hepburn steals every scene with her own special magic. There is something about her that makes her vulnerable but also wily, beautiful but accessible too. You want to see her get the guy because she deserves to be happy. And the way she pretends to be a woman who’s had more than a few romances under her belt is pretty hilarious.
The close relationship between her and her father was something I really liked in this film too. It felt like it added dimension to both characters. Her father is a man who sees life as a detective, and constantly records little clues and things, often couching things in terms more appropriate to a crime, like calling a happily ever after a “life sentence”.
In fact, this film is full of witty banter and clever dialogue, which is of course, a Billy Wilder trademark, here teamed with his writing partner IAL Diamond. Although it’s not one of his beloved films, or one of Audrey’s most famous, it’s a film that is light and playful, with just enough sweetness. A bit like a French pastry!
See It If: this one is for Audrey rom com fans. She’s lovely in it, and it’s a funny, sweet film, but it’s not as much of a classic as some of her or Wilder’s other work.