After 35 years, I've seen this film again; the 136 minute version at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City's East Village. Writer, Producer, and Director Blake Edwards used the experience of making this movie as the inspiration for the script to S.O.B. During production, Dame Julie Andrews also wrote a children's book called "Mandy" - inspired by something her eldest daughter suggested. Huge fans of Blake Edwards and Dame Julie Andrews, they invited them to stay in the house for a weekend.
Unfortunately, they chose this vehicle to try and assuage this belief.
The opening number, "Whistling Away The Dark", was performed by Dame Julie Andrews in a single, uninterrupted take. she dazzles us in her canny ability to retain her girl next door demeanor and be damn sexy at the same time. DARLING LILI must have been greenlit from a board meeting that said "hey we got that Pink Panther guy and that Sound Of Music gal... lets get this too" and handed over a blank cheque. Blake Edwards' "Darling Lili" is not a great film, but it is better than most people give it credit for.
Set during World War I, the film centers on Lili Smith, a beloved English musical star, who is actually a German spy.
Now I can whistle in the dark watching it again and again. But even in 1970 the movie musical struggled to survive with not only DARLING LILI but two other large scale musical extravaganzas, ie: ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER and SCROOGE. Most of this movie was filmed in the spring of 1968. .
When Rock was told about this, he responded "how the hell did she find out so fast?". ** from ****, This film is an unstructured ragbag which is not a musical, nor a romantic comedy, nor a spy thriller, nor a war movie, nor a spoof, nor a slapstick comedy, although it does try to be all of these, mostly sequentially but sometimes, Lord help us, simultaneously. I liked it so well, I went back to see it several times..cannot understand why it was considered a flop. The role of Major Duvalle was originally offered to Benny Hill. This often maligned movie is a must for fans of Blake Edwards, Julie Andrews, Henry Mancini, or Hollywood musicals. The newspapers then received several angry letters from parents who had gone to see this movie with their children, and were appalled by the risque content. Beatty's script offers Andrews just one fabulous sequence: a raucous striptease--though this is done in nudging satire, so we in the audience will understand it's all a put-on. Masquerading as her Swiss uncle, Colonel Kurt Von Ruger (Jeremy Kemp) is not only her German handler, but her lover. Things and people are coming between her and her true fate. Hudson shows all the romantic magnetism of a buttered scone and his scenes with Julie hold about as much spark as my 1987 Yugo. Certainly some of the cutesy comedy, which Blake Edwards, the director/producer/writer, also seems to be enamored of in his Pink Panther movies, could be cut. Set during World War I, this movie is a cute spin on the Mata Hari legend. Of the five men who are most privy to such information, Kurt believes the best target is American pilot Major William Larrabee (Rock Hudson), as he is young, single, and a ladies' man.
TV Shows . Since it was lampooned in S.O.B., they would make a great two-pack! Is it a farce or is it a romantic classic or is it a war movie? The logical end of the film comes when after the terrible WWI has ended, as she sings the theme song of the film, "Wishing" in a darkened theater, one by one the members of Larrabee's squadron appear, including her lover himself, indicating they have forgiven her and their former opponents; and even Uncle Kurt enthusiastically joins in the singing of "It's a Long To Tipperraree", to indicate all is well with the world again. This is a movie that I always enjoy to see again and again. Yes, I am a romantic of sorts who likes musicals and comedy and this fit the bill! Spoilers . The outcome of "Suzette" also threatens both Bill and Lili's lives.
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