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LILI (1953)

 Unrated   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Orphan Lili Daurier joins a carnival and falls under the spell of its star a suave magician. But it is the show's crippled embittered puppeteer who truly loves Lili a love he can express only through his puppets. "It is not often that the word 'enchanting' can accurately be applied to a musical" Clive Hirschhorn wrote in The Hollywood Musical "but it was the best way to describe Lili as well as Leslie Caron's genuinely touching performance." Nominated for six Academy Awards-« Lili offers sentiment without sugar simplicity without banality and a lyrical heart that beats to an Oscar-«-winning Bronislau Kaper score highlighted by Hi-Lili Hi-Lo and an imaginative sequence of Caron dancing with her beloved puppets come to life. Mel Ferrer Jean Pierre Aumont Zsa Zsa Gabor Amanda Blake and Kurt Kasznar also star.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect dose of nice-ness Nov. 15 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I somehow picked the perfect movie to watch this morning. Lili. It's about a puppeteer at a carnival who is bitter because of the hand life has dealt him. He was a dancer but his leg was injured in the war. So he performs with several puppets who are really just an extension of himself as he stays hidden below the small stage. As himself he's constantly bitter, but as the puppets he's able to express happiness. A beautiful young naive girl played by Leslie Caron comes along and the puppeteer falls in love with her but sees that she is in love with the "ladies man" of the carnival, the magician. The girl thinks of the puppeteer as "that angry man" but performs with him as part of the act; she kind of forgets that it's the angry man down below controlling and speaking for most of the puppets. I thought it was perfect that the puppets all refer to the puppeteer as the boss. When the girl is sad they ask her why: "Oh, is it the boss making you sad again?" Referring to the puppeteer as "the boss". I just really liked that.
I fall in love with the character Lili. And I relate so much to this puppeteer who is bitter because he wants something better. He wants to fall in love with this sweet girl, dance again and just be happy. You're damn right if you think I got emotional while watching it. I miss working with genuinely nice and sincere people. Last week I had a shouting match with the "new guy" at my work. This guy is an arrogant you-know-what. I'm like the puppeteer and do a few things very well that nobody else at my work can do (it's why I still have a job there). This guy is a jack of all trades who compensates by doing a little of everything. He's of the mind that "we can do without you".
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the 3 best films of all time April 4 2004
Format:VHS Tape
"Lili" ranks with "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" as one of the three finest motion pictures ever filmed. Its captivating song, "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo," ranks with "Over the Rainbow," "When You Wish Upon a Star," "You'll Never Know," and "It's a Grand Night for Singing" as one of the five best original movie songs. Its climactic dream-ballet sequence, in which Lili dances with life-sized versions of four puppets, is rivaled only by the "Out of My Dreams" dream-ballet sequence of "Oklahoma." And no actress has ever been more adorable and endearing--or capable--than Leslie Caron is in this movie.
Not really a musical, Lili is best described as a romantic fable or sophisticated fairy tale. It tells the story of a naive 16-year-old orphan who joins a carnival. There she brings success to a lame puppeteer (Mel Ferrer) by interacting with his four puppets. Her ingenuousness leads her to regard the puppets as real persons. Ferrer, though outwardly bitter about the war injury that ruined his career as an acclaimed dancer, shows flashes of inner kindness and humanity: he uses his puppets at one point to infuse joy into a despondent Lili, and he smiles when she isn't looking. Soon he falls in love with Lili. But she can't recognize as Ferrer's the tenderness that is revealed only in the puppets. Repelled by the overt rudeness of "the angry man," Lili becomes infatuated with the carnival's magician, a ladies' man. When she eventually learns the magician is married, Lili's eyes open. But the puppeteer's jealousy still clouds her vision. She decides to leave the carnival. Her departure precipitates the dream sequence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magic Dreamworld Aug. 8 2002
Format:VHS Tape
A charming little musical that grabbed me from the beginning, Lili is not as simple as it looks or sounds. This is definitely a character-actor driven movie, with Leslie Caron carrying the weight of film with her wide-eyed charm. The movie touches on dark issues like suicide, attempted rape, homelessness, poverty, bitterness, and thwarted dreams, but in a marvel of restraint, it doesn't dwell on these things and overemphasize them. The real focus is Lili's beautiful hope and joy in living.
An orphan, Lili joins up with a traveling circus. She's helplessly naive, but with the family-like troupe and the puppets in her carnival act, she blossoms into a poised, lovely creature. The puppets themselves are quite interesting and significant - see how they resemble the live characters. In the midst of all this, the only clouds in her sky are her boss (the brooding puppeteer, Berthalet, played to perfection by the sexy Mel Ferrer) and her unattainable crush (the vainglorious Marcus the Magnificent). Her coming-of-age is the main plot, made both satisfying and achingly real.
Leslie Caron pulls off the role admirably. Lili is endearingly sweet, without going over the top. Caron draws you in before you even know you've been charmed off your feet. Lili loves and hates so simply until she learns better, and then you see her mature realistically. It's rings inexplicably true. The two dance sequences showcase Caron's extensive ballet skills without becoming huge productions that halt the story's progress. In fact, they actually carry the story further - something not all musical pieces accomplish if you think about it. The fantasy one is marvelous in revealing Lili's alter-ego - she's sexy and confident, and ultimately, not Lili.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Set The Record Straight
Just to set the record straight on the source of this magnificent film. It is NOT based on the book "Love for Seven Dolls". Read more
Published on March 20 2004 by Jim Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Supporting Performances
LILI is a movie about a developing romance between a young orphan (Leslie Caron) and a slightly handicapped puppeteer (Mel Ferrer). Read more
Published on March 28 2003 by Peter Kenney
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories
I first saw this movie when I was about 7 years old (some 43 years ago). To this day I still remember the dreamy quality of the movie, the music and the puppets. Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2003 by Bonnie
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet But Dated
Leslie Caron is darling,and the movie is very sweet, but it comes off as somewhat dated. I remember having loved it much more as a child in the movies than I did now on video.
Published on Sept. 18 2002 by Y. Friedland
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
"Lili" a romantic, sweet movie! A great see for all ages; for the family; this is a classic! One of the greatest love films I've seen so far! Rent it or buy it today!
Published on Aug. 11 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Fantasy
This charming little fantasy bears only nominal resemblance to the book "Love of Seven Dolls" by Paul Gallico, but it is very sweet and refreshing. Read more
Published on April 13 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumph of Love Over Hatred
This is a potent little film, with excellent acting, that explores the complexity of human emotion. To those who found it disturbing, please remember the following: A. Read more
Published on April 13 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, but Charming
First off, I like this movie very much. But it would be a naive folly (similar to the behavior that characterizes Lili) to deny the darker overtones of this movie. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2002 by B. Bagne
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love It!!!
My mom frist introuducted me to Lili about a couple of months ago. When i frist saw it I thought it was one of the best musicals i ever saw. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2001 by LiliLover
5.0 out of 5 stars An ageless romance
When this film opened in Houston I was a teen, and was captivated by it. I wasn't alone, because it ran at one theater for just over a year. Read more
Published on Dec 15 2001
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