Paris – When It Sizzles Film Details
Overview: The sprightly young assistant of a Hollywood screenwriter helps him over his writer’s block by acting out his fantasies of possible plots.
Tagline: Go absolutely Ape in…
Review: Director Richard Quine’s “Paris When It Sizzles” proves that Audrey Hepburn could and did make some disastrous movies before her career when into decline in the 1970s. Presumably, Paramount Pictures must have thought that pairing superstars William Holden with Audrey Hepburn again after they had appeared in “Sabrina” with Humphrey Bogart constituted a surefire sensation. Despite all the considerable talent and production values that went into this romantic comedy with its scenic setting, “Paris When It Sizzles” never sizzles. Indeed, Holden and Hepburn ignite the screen with undeniable chemistry as a film scriptwriter suffering from writer’s block who falls in love with his stenographer. One of the elements of a memorable movie is the ability of the filmmakers to spring one surprise after another so that we the audience don’t tire of the screenplay shenanigans. In this regard, “Paris When It Sizzles” does sizzle. Unfortunately, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” scenarist George Axelrod wears out the idea about a scribe who keeps changing a screenplay that he has been contracted to write so that every quarter-hour or so, the plot changes until the fun fizzles. During all these bright, fun-loving antics, Tony Curtis, Mel Ferrer, and Marlene Dietrich make cameo appearances. Reportedly, Curtis stepped into the film as a favor. If you blink, you may miss Dietrich. Movie producer Alexander Meyerheim (famous playwright Noel Coward) is luxuriating in the South of France while his contract writer, Richard Benson (William Holden), sits in Paris trying to write a script. The problem is that Benson isn’t having any luck with his literary endeavors until beautiful Gabrielle Simpson (Audrey Hepburn) enters his life as his stenographer. Benson makes just enough progress with his screenplay to realize how awful that it is before he sets about constantly revising it and conjuring up every cliché in the book. Meanwhile, Meyerheim has deluded himself into believing that Benson has created another cinematic gem. In fact, after all his elaborate but contrived ideas, Benson concocts a script that is so egregious that he tosses it at fadeout so he can kiss Gabby and they can dissolve into Paris after dark. If you know little about the process of writing a screenplay, this frivolous comedy should prove enlightening. Nothing about “Paris When It Sizzles” is remotely memorable. At various points, it looks like both Quine and Axelrod realized that they were roasting a turkey. Some of the crisp, crackling dialogue serves as a commentary about the futility of what they were trying to achieve. This carefree farce struggles throughout its overlong 110 minutes to conjure up laughs as well as insights. The chief insight is that when things go awry not even first-class talent that compensate for it. Nothing works, and the narrative about a fictional movie entitled “The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower” looks like a combination of “Casablanca” crossed with “Algiers.” Happily, Hepburn relies on her charm and survives this travesty. Holden, on the contrary, doesn’t fare as well as Hepburn. William Holden delivers the hammiest performance of his distinguished career. Mind you, “Paris When It Sizzles” is almost worth watching so you can see Holden decked out in one scene as a vampire! He resembles a Lon Chaney, Jr., with a hangover in that brief scene that must have been embarrassing for the Oscar-winning actor. “Paris When It Sizzles” has more drizzle than sizzle. Skip it unless you are a die-hard fan of either William Holden or Audrey Hepburn. The scene when they compare “My Fair Lady” (a film that Hepburn is remembered for) with “Frankenstein” merely shows that sophistication and wit cannot save the day.
Country: United States
Language: English, French
Duration: 110 min
Genre: Comedy, Romance
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