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TO PARIS WITH LOVE(director: Robert Hamer; screenwriters: Robert Buckner/based on a story by Sterling Noel; cinematographer: Reginald H. Wyer; editor: Anne V. Coates; music: Edwin Astley; cast: Alec Guinness (Col. Sir Edgar Fraser), Odile Versois (Lizette Marconne), Vernon Gray (John Fraser), Elina Labourdette (Sylvia Gilbert), Austin Trevor (Leon Decolville), Maureen Davis (Suzanne Decolville), Jacques Francois (Victor Decolville), Jacques Brunius (Aristide Marconnet), Pamela Stirling (Madame Marconnet); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Earl St. John/Edwin Astley/Antony Darnborough; Hallmark Home Entertainment; 1955-UK)
“The comedy is strained.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Robert Hamer (“Kind Hearts and Coronets”/”The Scapegoat”/”The Detective”) is off the mark in directing this tepid romantic comedy. It lacks passion or good pacing. It’s about a debonair 42-year-old Scottish aristocratic widower horsebreeder Sir Edgar Fraser (Alec Guinness), who takes his handsome twenty-year-old son John (Vernon Gray) to Paris by sports car to get to know him better and teach him first-hand about the facts of life. The catch is that John thinks since his mother’s death seven years ago, his father has become too withdrawn and spends too much time alone at the castle and wants his father to meet women. It’s a tale about poor old rich boys, who both need a woman in their life to make them whole again.

The boys meet lower-class teenager shopgirl Lizette Marconne (Odile Versois), who falls off a motor scooter in traffic. They then meet Leon Decolville (Austin Trevor) a fellow horsebreeder and a host to Sir Edward, who’s an old army general friend from the war. Leon introduces them to the owner of the chic boutique Lizette works at, the older sophisticated Sylvia Gilbert (Elina Labourdette). Suzanne (Maureen Davis) is Leon’s pretty daughter and Victor (Jacques Francois) his son, and both are around the same age as John.

Problems occur when father and son get involved with the women not meant for them, as their matchmaking efforts for each other gets reversed. It leads to the predictable happy ending when the mix-up gets straightened out and even class order is kept status quo, but it arrives there in a not too convincing or fun way.

It’s not only pointless, vexing, without good chemistry between the romantic leads and hardly believable, but the comedy is strained. It’s based on a story by Sterling Noel and weakly written by Robert Buckner (“Yankee Doodle Dandy”).


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”