Review: ‘Paris When It Sizzles’

Paris When It Sizzles fizzles. The Richard Quine-George Axelrod production is a romantic comedy that, as Axelrod himself describes the story - within - a story that weaves through the film, is 'contrived, utterly preposterous and totally unmotivated'.

Paris When It Sizzles fizzles. The Richard Quine-George Axelrod production is a romantic comedy that, as Axelrod himself describes the story – within – a story that weaves through the film, is ‘contrived, utterly preposterous and totally unmotivated’.

Axelrod’s 108-minutes of marsh mallow-weight hokum is concerned with the evolution of a romantic relationship between a somewhat broken down, middleaged screenwriter (William Holden) and his Tessie the Typist, an adorable Givenchy wenchy also known as Audrey Hepburn. Their affair is more or less paralleled in the creative ramblings of Holden’s mind as he dreams up an artificial cloak-and-dagger screenplay.

The basic error in this film seems to be the artificiality of the shell in which the takeoffs are encased.

Prettiest image by far is Hepburn, a refreshingly individual creature in an era of the exaggerated curve. Holden handles his assignment commendably. Both give a lot more than they have gotten. Chipping in extended, uncredited cameos are Tony Curtis and Noel Coward, with smaller bits in the same vein by Mel Ferrer and Marlene Dietrich. The singing voices of Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra are heard, former in a chorus of ‘That Face’, latter singing one line of a tune in a parody of main titles that is one of the more amusing passages of the film.

Paris When It Sizzles

Production

Paramount. Director Richard Quine; Producer Richard Quine, George Axelrod; Screenplay George Axelrod; Camera Charles Lang Jr; Editor Archie Marshek; Music Nelson Riddle; Art Director Jean D'Eaubonne

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1964. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

William Holden Audrey Hepburn Gregoire Aslan Raymond Bussieres Christian Duvaleix
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