Darling Lili

"Terrible"

Darling Lili Review


Chances are you've never heard of Darling Lili, despite Blake Edwards as director and Rock Hudson and Julie Andrews as stars. Hell, audiences in 1970 barely heard of it, because it was a disaster on release. It's so bad it never even merited an appearance on VHS. Well, DVDs are cheap, and Blake Edwards is still alive and enjoying new noteriety thanks to a recent Oscar appearance... and Andrews is in the news, too. So why not put out a director's cut of what might be the worst film either of them ever made?

Problem #1 can be seen in a premise: It's a film that no self-respecting studio head should have ever greenlit, but inexplicably somebody did. Who in their right mind could have thought that anyone would want to see a musical about Mata Hari? Not even the real Mata Hari, but a Mata Hari-like character plying her trade during World War I.

Andrews is, believe it or not, a double agent. She's a German spy named Lili Schmidt (or Smith) with an incredibly lifelike British accent, working in Paris and asked to seduce an American soldier (Hudson) for information. The other side approaches her, too, as they think Hudson's Larrabee is slipping information to a spy... but they think she's someone else. Could Lili keep an eye on him? You can see how this is going to go -- she's torn by loyalty to the motherland and her growing love for Larrabee, and until this all comes to a head, we're treated to Andrews singing a number of period numbers and, yes, stripping on stage. (Don't worry parents, the movie's actually rated G.)

Julie Andrews doing a burlesque act isn't really the low point of the movie, it's that the whole thing is so rote and familiar. The Germans may as well be goose-stepping Nazis, even though Hitler was just a teenager at the time. Hudson looks all puffy and phones in his performance. And the songs are really nothing special. And somehow this story of intrigue and deception is meant to be a comedy. I'd blame the producer for trying to hire Blake Edwards (who gave us The Pink Panther) to turn another mystery into a laugh riot, but Edwards also produced. There's just nothing funny in the film to speak of, except maybe for Andrews stripping.

But seriously, if you thought The Sound of Music was hokey, wait'll you get a load of this.

The DVD includes 19 deleted scenes.



Darling Lili

Facts and Figures

Run time: 136 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 24th June 1970

Distributed by: Paramount

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Lili Smith (Schmidt), as Major William Larrabee, as Colonel Kurt Von Ruger, as T.C. Carstairs

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