TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Romance (Splendor in the Grass / Love in the Afternoon / Mogambo / Now Voyager)
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TCM Greatest Classic Films: Romance (4FE) (DVD)
Fairy-tale Paris doesn't get more enchanting than Billy Wilder's Love in the Afternoon, an ode to picnics on the grass and champagne at the Ritz. Audrey Hepburn (who had already made Sabrina with Wilder) is at her best as the inexperienced cellist with a fascination for millionaire American playboy Gary Cooper. Maurice Chevalier (who else?) is Hepburn's father, a private detective with ample evidence of Cooper's crowded history of l'amour. Alongside the sheen of the romance is Wilder's unerring sense of craftsmanship; watch how inanimate objects such as a liquor tray, a white carnation, or the little dog in the suite next door are developed into sublime running gags. The age difference between the two leads has often been questioned, but perhaps this is what gives the gossamer material the whiff of welcome melancholy. The final three minutes leave no doubt that Wilder hatched the best endings in Hollywood history. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
His Arienne is quite probably slightly mad. Not an unlikely result from having a Maurice Chevalier as your sole parent. There can be no other reasons why she should pursue a very old and somewhat unbending Gary Cooper. But no matter that. Wilder is no moralist and instead focuses his attention on the comic elements arising out of the situation.
This is the most musical non Musical I know off, and not just because of the frequent appearance of a String Quartet. Hepburn, Chevalier and Cooper themselves are like a musical Trio. No one could deliver her lines like Audrey Hepburn and here she is at her lilting best, almost like a songbird. In fact, all the visual embellishments of this film, such as the little dog, the cello, the fur coat weave their way in and out of the plot like melodic strands in some piece of Chamber Music.
Every time I see this film I like it more and more. The black and white cinematography is superb and comes out well on DVD. The scenes between Hepburn and Chevalier are priceless. The choice of Gary Cooper has been critizised in some quarters, but his Rock of Gibralter solidness and his All-American masculinity provide the perfect counterfoil to the flighty feminity of the Chevalier character.
It may well be as Hepburn and Cooper elope in the train in the final scene that she is abandoning the Mother figure (Chevalier) for a life with a Father she longs for but never knew. It's a terrific ending, but not one designed to cater to the sentiments of the Moral Majority.
This was the 50's. That wasn't unusual, and the thing is 'they' had to place Audrey with the hottest actors of the time. I mean, compare this movie to 'Funny Face', Fred Astaire, well he was WAY older then her, but no, it didn't matter. Enough about that...
This movie was so adorable- probably my favourite Audrey Hepburn film. The little thing that are said and done in this movie have the potential to make you cry. It's just a great movie all around!
Audrey Hepburn is enchanting as the spunky "Thin Girl", a cello student who falls in love with a millionaire playboy bachelor, played with grace and charm (and quite a bit of humor) by Gary Cooper. Hepburn was 28 at the time, and looked younger, Cooper was 56, and looked perhaps older, but despite the age difference, their chemistry together sparkles and sizzles.
The romantic cat and mouse game played by Hepburn to intrigue and win Cooper's heart is all very innocent and sweet, and I always shed a few tears at the magical ending.
Maurice Chevalier as Hepburn's father, a private detective specializing in matters of love and deception is fabulous, and gets most of the funny lines, and John McGiver, as one of Chevalier's jealous husband clients, is also very amusing.
The b & w cinematography by William Mellor is exceptional, and how the camera loves Audrey, looking exquisite in an array of beautiful gowns. There is also a quartet called "The Gypsies", who serenade the lovers throughout the film with some terrific czardas, and the melodic song "Fascination".
Light, frothy, and thoroughly enjoyable, this is one of Billy Wilder's most delightful films, and it's a treasure for Hepburn and Cooper fans.
Total running time is 130 minutes.
Warner Home Video has given us a rather dull looking transfer. The gray scale starts out good but then deteriorates to a rather blurry mess mid-way through. The picture is incredibly soft focused at times with the entire image presented as one big blurry mess. When the picture is sharp, background detail is fairly accurately rendered with only a hint of edge enhancement, pixelization or aliasing problems. However, at least 30% of the image is very weak in its visual clarity. Black levels are weak. Contrast levels are often worse. The audio is mono and unusually strident, with a considerable amount of background hiss that is not usually the norm for Warner Brother DVD's. NO EXTRAS. A genuine shame.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a great film badly in need of another transfer. I recommend the movie. Not the DVD.
Most recent customer reviews
It was a real bonus situation because I wanted the movie Mogmabo and got three other big Clark Gable films. No issues with shipping or the product. Well done.Published 14 months ago by Gary Santia
Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepurn, Ava Gardner, Clark Gable are always a pleasure to watch in these classics.Published on June 23 2013 by Barbara J Felte
Slender in the Grass- Love in the Afternoon-Mogambo-Now Voyager.
Some great old classics. Films that no matter how much time goes by, I enjoy going into a different world... Read more
"Love in the Afternoon" is a cute but superficial romance. I realize that some elements of the film are intended as a satire on French cinema of the time, but Wilder went too far... Read morePublished on April 22 2004 by L.M.W.
Audrey Hepburn delivers a wonderful performance as a naive young music student who falls hopelessly in love with a much older playboy American tourist. Read morePublished on April 21 2004 by L.M.W.
This movie helps us to understand why the divorce rate is so high amongst this generation. The story line is written to depict a great love founded on lies and deceit. Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2004 by Rena Selke
What an innocent film... an older man... a younger girl... sounds more like obsession than facination. However, Billy Wilder tells his little tale with complete tongue in cheek. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2003 by Cinemabon