Lili (1953)


“We don’t learn. We just get older, and we know. ” – Lili

Number of Times Seen – 1 (2 Oct 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A young girl seeking work ends up becoming a hit in a puppet show talking with the puppets as if they are real people.

My Take on it – This is a film that I knew nothing about and only decided to watch it since it’s director Charles Walters was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director for his work here.

The story itself was probably much better received and enjoyed when it came out but it works less now than it must have 65 years ago.

The story itself is quite naive (as is the main character played by Leslie Caron) on the surface yet when delving into the issues discussed, it’s easy to see that things are actually quite more complex and provocative even that are still relevant to today’s world perhaps even more-so than they were back when this was made.

The idea to use the puppets as a way for a character injured during World War II and still suffering to express his feelings is an intriguing one and it works well here.

The cast is quite good with Mel Ferrer, Jean Pierre Aumont and Zsa Zsa Gabor (yes, that Zsa Zsa) playing prominent roles yet the overall chemistry between them isn’t a strong as one would expect.

I’m also a bot confused as to how Walters got a Directing nomination for this film.

Bottom Line – Interesting idea that was probably much better enjoyed when it came out than it can be now. The story itself seems a bit too naive (like the main character) on the surface but actually deals with some very complex issues that are still relevant to today’s world. The use of puppets for a character who cannot express his own feelings about things due to a war injury works quite well. The cast is pretty good but the chemistry between Caron and her two leading men is quite lackluster throughout.  Director Charles Walters was nominated for Best Director at the Oscars for this film, and I can’t really say that I understand why. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The earliest known appearance of the “smiley” emoticon, :-), was in an ad for this film in the New York Herald Tribune on 10 March 1953, page 20, columns 4-6. The film opened nationwide, and this ad possibly ran in many newspapers. It read: Today You’ll laugh 🙂 You’ll cry 😦 You’ll love ❤ ‘Lili'” This should not be confused with the graphical yellow “smiley face”, which was first drawn by Harvey Ball some 10 years later. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

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2 thoughts on “Lili (1953)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1953 |

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1953 | MovieRob

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