Three loosely connected love stories. The first story: Paula is a talented dancer who cannot truly live unless she dances. But has a heart condition, which means she cannot live if she does. The second story: Tommy despises his French tutor, and hates being a child. He wants to be an adult so he can do what he wants. He gets his wish, being transformed into a handsome young man for one evening, and learns about whole new side of his French tutor. Third story: Pierre Narval is trapeze artist who gave it up when his partner died doing a dangerous stunt at his bidding. He rescues Nina, a beautiful young woman, after she throws herself into the Seine, and convinces her to become his new aerial partner. Her husband had been killed by the Nazis during the war, and she blames herself. They fall in love, which is tested when Nina must perform the stunt which killed Pierre's former partner.Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Each of the three love stories would have been worthy of a movie to itself. The second, with Leslie Caron, must rate at least a 7 for anyone who enjoys her, but her work in Lili outshines everything else she has done. The third, with Pier Angeli and Kirk Douglas was a treat even for a viewer who does not usually like Kirk Douglas. It rates a 9 on the basis of the marvelous sequences as he teaches Pier Angeli the art of high wire performance. But it is the first, which deserves 11 out of 10, which makes this film a "must see." I know of no other film in which great orchestral music has been treated with such respect and insight. There are long, uninterrupted sequences of the marvelous Moira Shearer dancing to one of Rachmaninoff's fabulous Variations on a Theme of Paganini. The combination is superlative ballet, and superlative interpretation of a great orchestral work of the late romantic school. As icing on the cake, James Mason is the audience of one as she dances, an irascible impresario who is, quite understandably, overwhelmed by the magic of Shearer's performance. The story ends too soon. At full length, with three times the dancing, and a better love story between Shearer and Mason, it would be a movie I might expect to see in Heaven. It makes the whole film easily worth a 9.
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