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| 23 May 2016 | Reply

Shock Entertainment, 2015
Directed by Billy Wilder
Starring Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
7 ½ /10

Love In The Afternoon DVD

Audrey Hepburn’s elfin good looks, hypnotic eyes, and natural affinity with the screen are at the centre of this delightful 1957 RomCom, ably supported by the wonderfully expressive Maurice Chevalier as her father, private investigator Claude Chavasse.

Chavasse reports a wife’s infidelity to his client, the squirrely John McGiver, who resolves to kill the philandering American sowing his oats with his beloved. Hepburn’s Ariane overhears the declaration and determines to intervene.

When she confronts Gary Cooper’s Frank Flannagan and saves his life, leading his paramour to clambour out of the Paris Ritz window while Ariane takes her place, Cooper barely bats an eyelid, instead turning his predatory advances onto Ariane. She demurs, but – in that way Hollywood bigwigs thought was normal and not in any way perverse – the young girl (a teen, although Hepburn was 27 at the time) falls instantly head over heels in love with Flannagan (although Cooper was 55).

A year later Flannagan returns to Paris, and immediately the flirting continues. Ariane – determined to seem more experienced and refined that she is – starts telling stories of her own affairs, adopting stories from her Father’s private investigator files as her own during afternoon meetings in Flannagan’s hotel suite. With each meeting and each new invented man, Flannagan grows more protective and jealous of Ariane.

Cooper’s performance is every bit as stilted as Hepburn’s is delightful, which makes the age difference even creepier, and the romance even more unbelievable – although it was de riguer thinking for Hollywood at the time. (Chevalier, of course, is not completely innocent on this front, starring in Gigi the following year and singing ‘Thank Heaven For Little Girls’ at the ripe old age of 69)

Despite this, Hepburn’s charm ensures everything makes some kind of sense, and Wilder contributes several very funny scenes, none more so than when Flannagan and the Gypsy musical troupe are getting sloshed in his room while he agonises over Ariane’s purported lovers.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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