The Last Time I saw Paris (1954) (DVD)Elizabeth Taylor,
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This review is from: The Last Time I Saw Paris  [DVD] (DVD)
This particular version should be viewed as an archive film. The colour is very uneven with Van Johnson often looking like he has a skin problem, the shooting seems to be jerky with refracted images during what should be normal movement, and the sound quality fades. A blue-ray player accentuates these faults more than a multi channel player. Even the beauty of Elizabeth Taylor often appears flattened at times.
Director Richard Brooks seems to have underplayed Elizabeth Taylor's role, of the vivacious, but delicate Helen Ellswirth, who falls in love with, and marries a hopefull novellist and journalist amid the liberation celebrations in Paris at the end of World War two. Charles Wills (Van Johnson) has a brief flirtation with her sister Marion, (Donna Reed) who remains secretly in love with him and marries Claude on the rebound. I have seen Walter Pidgeon in better roles than that of their Father James Ellswirth.
Helen and Charles are frequent members of the Cafe Dingho, before Vicki their daughter is born, a little would be Ballerina, who always falls over, played by Sandy Descher. Land they thought worthless in Texas produces oil, but wealth only forces apart a marriage already on the rocks, with Helens drinking for lack of attention, and his depression at the constant failure of his novels. She has already cavorted in a Paris fountain, and an artist has painted the event on the Cafe walls. Most of the story is told as a flashback when Charles returns to Paris, from America to claim his Daughter. Helen died of pnuemonia, but her image is still on the cafe wall.
One of the brightest spots in the film is the cameo role of Eva Gabor playing Lorraine Quarl, a rich divorcee, marry again socialite. Roger Moore, in his pre-007 days, makes a suave appearance as Paul, who holds a fleeting attraction for Helen.
So, contrary to the lovely song by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein 2nd, which is played in different styles throughout, the last time Charles Wills saw Paris, her heart was certainly not bright and gay.