3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A lovely wallow in fifties visuals,
This review is from: Last Time I Saw Paris, The [DVD]  (DVD)
This film was based on the story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Return to Babylon, and I think if you hang on to that, you can just about glimpse what a good film it almost is. Unfortunatley, it is hopelessly miscast, with Taylor, who should be playing the jealous sister, a la Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (I always think of her as neurotic and spoilt, but here, she plays a faithful and wronged wife). Swop the two female leads around and it might have made more sense. Van Johnson wrings a lot of overacted emotions out of his unremarkable face, but one is always distracted by his ridiculous proto-quiff. He is too nice to play the straying hubby. The little girl, Vicky, is charming without straying into total sickliness - I thought she was played by a young Jane Birkin, because that's what she looks like, but I was wrong. For me, however, the great pleasure of this film is seeing Paris (and Monte Carlo) in the 1950s - wonderful! You can't imagine them filming some of the scenes there now, and I think the racecourse at Argenteuil is no longer even in use. The clothes are to die for, from Van Johnson's too-wide overcoat shoulders, to Taylor's wasp-waisted, off the shoulder evening dress and Gabor's blue fur wrap. In one scene, Liz, hosting a charity ball, and done up to the nines in satin crinoline and diamonds, offers to rustle up a meal for her frustrated author husband because he has writer's block. Priceless! It's slow, but visually, it's a great treat, in which Elizabeth Taylor's beauty is worthy of the legend.