27 Days With Billy Wilder And Me

Every Movie He Directed…From Mauvaise Graine to Buddy Buddy

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Day Fifteen: Love In the Afternoon

July 14th, 2011 · No Comments · 1957, Adaptation, Audrey Hepburn, Claude Anet, Gary Cooper, IAL Diamond, John McGiver, Love in the Afternoon, Maurice Chevalier

Love In the AfternoonBilly Wilder’s fifteenth movie, Love in the Afternoon, starring Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn, was released in 1957. Billy was 51 years old.

First, a few comments:

1. Maurice Chevalier has always given me the creeps. Anyone who can sing a song like, “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” (from Gigi, 1958) while gazing with a leer at girls of “five or six or seven” shouldn’t be in films. He should be behind bars.

2. Gary Cooper makes Keanu Reeves look like Marlon Brando. ‘Nuff said.

3. Ewww. Gary Cooper was 56 in this film. Audrey Hepburn, his love interest, was 28 — half his age. It shows. Coop looks like Hepburn’s grandfather. Even the DVD cover photo gives me the willies. Maurice must have felt right at home in this picture.

The movie is about a private investigator (Chevalier) hired by Monsieur X (McGiver) to spy on his wife. The PI takes photos of an American playboy (Cooper) making out with his client’s wife. The PI’s daughter (Hepburn) sees the photos and remarks how nice looking the man in them is. When Monsieur X arrives to get a full report from the PI, and discovers his wife truly is having an affair, he loads a pistol and leaves to shoot the playboy. The PI’s daughter eavesdropping on their conversation, observes the man loading his gun, overhears her father and her client discussing the cold-blooded murder and sneaks out to warn the unsuspecting playboy. The two meet, and very quickly — without any apparent reason (or even chemistry) — fall in love.

That’s the movie, all 130 very long minutes of it.

Principle Cast:
Frank Flannagan……………………………..Gary Cooper (1901–1961)
Ariane Chavasse / Thin Girl…………………..Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993)
Claude Chavasse……………………………..Maurice Chevalier
Monsieur X………………………………….John McGiver

Love in the Afternoon was the first film that Billy Wilder directed written with I.A.L. Diamond, perhaps his best-known screenwriting partner. It was based on the novel “Ariane, jeune fille russe” by Claude Anet.

My biggest criticism about this film (aside from the ridiculous difference in the ages of its stars) is that there’s no chemistry between Cooper and Hepburn. I see no reason why she would fall for the guy. He’s a reprehensible playboy twice her age. She’s a young beauty with musical talent


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