Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1963. Llenroc Productions, Paramount Pictures. Screenplay by Melville Shavelson. Cinematography by Daniel L. Fapp. Produced by Melville Shavelson. Music by Erroll Garner, Leith Stevens. Production Design by Arthur Lonergan, Hal Pereira. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Frank Bracht. Academy Awards 1963. Golden Globe Awards 1963.
Definitely not a new kind of movie. Joanne Woodward plays a dowdy fashion designer specializing in affordable knock-offs of Parisian haute couture, who meets up with cynical journalist Paul Newman while taking in some fashion shows in France’s beautiful capital. Newman doesn’t even look at her twice, but when Woodward dolls herself up and pretends to be a high-class call girl the man finds himself irresistibly attracted to her. All the nifty little gimmicks are overused to the point of annoyance in this romantic comedy, especially a split-screen sequence where Woodward’s fashion show models strut their stuff on one side and Newman’s dirty burlesque dancers perform on the other; it’s presumably a witty joke on the fine line that divides the two professions, but the point is taken way too far when the scene continues for what feels like hours. Other than that, there’s nothing to it except for some genuine chemistry between the two stars (who were married in real life) and Woodward’s exceptional finesse with comedy. Maurice Chevalier co-stars and sings some signature songs, which might be a plus for some.