Combustible Celluloid
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With: Audrey Hepburn, William Holden
Written by: George Axelrod, based on a story by Julien Duvivier, Henri Jeanson
Directed by: Richard Quine
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 110
Date: 03/19/2013

Paris - When It Sizzles (1964)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Eiffel Truth

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Paris - When It Sizzles is lesser Hepburn. It's a sluggish, expensive-looking comedy, shot by third-rate director Richard Quine. However, it benefits from a hugely winning screenplay by George Axelrod (The Manchurian Candidate) about a drunken screenwriter (William Holden) who has less than 48 hours to complete a screenplay. Hepburn plays a secretary called in to type his slurred ramblings. Together they create a preposterous Hollywood concoction called The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower, complete with star cameos (Tony Curtis and Marlene Dietrich). Meanwhile, in real life, writer and typist fall in love. Hepburn's role is not particularly suited to her, and any old actress could have played it. But, as usual, she brings her extraordinary charm to it, and makes us smile in spite of ourselves, and the ironic picture-within-a-picture plot actually plays better today than it did in the swinging 60's. Paramount's full-color transfer is fine, in a 1.85 to 1 widescreen picture, and the theatrical trailer is hilarious.

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