A German spy masquerades as a singer during World War I to obtain secrets from an American pilot and she begins to fall in love with him.
Release Date: 25-OCT-2005
Media Type: DVD
Tom Anderson | Piney Flats, Tennessee United States | 01/09/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Paramount Home Video had originally scheduled to release "Darling Lili" on DVD in April, but it was pulled from the release schedule with no explanation. Now they have just announced that the film will be released October 25, 2005!
As you probably know, this movie bombed when released in 1970, and it was never released on home video in any format. However, anything with Julie Andrews in it has a cult following, and I've always felt that it was just a matter of time before this film was finally made available.
Darling Lili is not a great movie by any means, but it's quite enjoyable with pretty music, nice cinematography, costumes, and set design. The story's not especially memorable, but Julie and Rock Hudson have good chemistry and give it their best shot. This was the sort of sophisticated, light comedy/drama that was popular in the Sixties and, if made just a few years earlier, would have starred either Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, or Shirley MacLaine. However, by the time of its release in 1970, this type of film had fallen on hard times--plus being a musical did not help its appeal at the box office.
Let's hope that Paramount decides to finally release the full-length version on DVD soon (as opposed to the shortened version that turns up occasionaly on cable) and gives us a beautiful transfer that is sharp, saturated, and free from debris."
"Often I think this sad old world is whistling in the dark..
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 11/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"DARLING LILI is a positive delight, though sadly the film was a huge box-office flop and virtually sunk Andrews' film career until "10", S.O.B. and VICTOR/VICTORIA came along a decade later. This film stars Andrews as Lili Smith, a beautiful and adored singing star in England who moonlights as a WW1 German spy. One night, "Uncle Kurt" (Jeremy Kemp) gives Lili her latest assignment: Major Bill Larrabee (Rock Hudson). Lili must make Larrabee fall in love with her, and hopefully let slip some important confidential information that could come in handy for the Germans. Once Lili has Bill firmly in her sights, it becomes clear that this is not her usual "kiss-and-tell" seduction job....she has truly fallen in love with him.
Julie Andrews simply glows as Lili, and delivers a deft performance. Although she indeed plays a spy working for the "Enemy", the audience oddly enough loves her anyway and wants her to escape in the tension-filled final sequence. Rock Hudson is a comical and romantic delight as Larrabee. The support cast includes Lance Percival, Gloria Paul, Jacques Marin, Doreen Keogh and Bernard Kay.
The musical score by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer is truly beautiful, one of the best of the entire decade. When Andrews emerges out of the blackness in the first scene to sing "Whistling Away the Dark", it is indeed one of those chill-inducing moments. Andrews' musicality in this film was quite accomplished; she sings with a smokey timbre in her voice which she rarely displayed before or after DARLING LILI. Other choice moments come in the Music Hall-schmaltz of "I'll Give You Three Guesses" and the sobering "Girl in No Man's Land". Costume designer Donald Brooks decks Julie out in a splendid array of period-perfect ensembles (he also costumed Julie in STAR!).
The film was nominated for 3 Academy Awards that year: Best Costume Design (Donald Brooks); Best Song "Whistling Away the Dark" (music Henry Mancini, lyrics Johnny Mercer); and Best Music Scoring (Henry Mancini).
I simply adore this film. DARLING LILI was never made available on videocassette, and appeared only rarely on cable. Director Blake Edwards, in a bid to make the film more palatable for audiences following it's disastrous theatrical release, re-cut the film in a "Director's Cut", and that is the version you get on this DVD. The original theatrical length was 136 mins (the "Director's Cut" runs for a brisk 107 mins, not counting Overture and Exit Music sequences). The transfer is very sharp and the audio is offered in both 5.1 and 2-channel stereo. The cut scenes are all offered as bonus material, so in effect the entire film is here, albeit in pieces. Paramount might hopefully release the uncut LILI one day, but until then, you could do a lot worse than the "Director's Cut". Highly-recommended from this corner.
POSTSCRIPT (29th May 2007): DARLING LILI is now available in it's original uncut form, via the new Paramount DVD editions from the UK and Australia."
Byron Kolln | 03/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time! It has a hauntingly beautiful musical score that is the perfect vehicle for Julie Andrews at her best. Blake Edwards has equalled this riotously funny level only with the Pink Panther series. The romance with the Rock Hudson character (a WWI pilot) is funny, yet convincing--you want it to work! The espionage story line is cleverly woven into the high-jinks.
The real mystery is that this film did not do well at the box office, & Julie Andrews has even been embarrassed as a result! PLEASE make it available!!!!!"
It's Julie Andrews' rare Musical Movie!
ohjeongho | Seoul, South Korea | 04/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to find this title, VHS and DVD! I had watched this movie on TV movie channel! Julie Andrews' voice is perfect and now I'm listening CD soundtrack! I wish this title release as soon as possible.."
One of my favorite films.
Rick D. Barszcz | bristol, ct United States | 10/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was working at RCMH when this film opened. The Music Hall did great business with it probably because in those years you got a stage show as well. They say the film flopped in general release but i loved it. Great songs, great story, great acting and one of Rock Hudson's best films and seeing this film in 70mm and 6-channel stereo sound was the best. This is a great musical which is also beautifully filmed and shot in many locations in Europe. Enjoy this classic."