Monday, April 10, 2006


Light romantic trifle with good performances and atmosphere which can't quite overcome a weak script. Adolphe Menjou runs the title Parisian restaurant, and he's close to running it into the ground; it's successful, but he's been borrowing restaurant money to use (and lose) in gambling, and his accountant (Christian Rub) tells him that it's crucial to get the money back within 24 hours. Tyrone Power is a broke American (whom we first at the restaurant, at closing time, drunk and insisting that he be served roasted eagle) who gambles and loses to Menjou; when Power can't make good on his debt, Menjou forces him into a scheme to "make love," in disguise as a Russian prince, to a visiting American heiress (Loretta Young), in hopes of getting money out of her. Complicating the plan: 1) her family (Charles Winninger and Helen Westley) is keeping a close eye on her, 2) Young sees through his disguise early on (thanks to his on-again, off-again accent), and 3) the real Russian prince whose identity Power is using (Gregory Ratoff) is working as a waiter at the restaurant and finds out about the ruse. There is a very amusing scene in which Winninger is arrested under suspicion of being an American gangster named Smarty Pants, but generally there is far too much time spent on complicated plot machinations at the expense of characterization. We don't get a chance to see Power and Young actually fall in love, and Power's and Menjou's characters are both so lightly sketched that it's difficult to care much about what happens to them. Still, the actors are generally delightful and this movie is further evidence that Power really should have done more comedy (see my review of DAY-TIME WIFE, below). The sets for the restaurant, the hotel rooms, and a cozy little inn where Power and Young canoodle are quite nice. "Quite nice" is an appropriate phrase for this movie; not a must, but enjoyable for an undemanding audience. [FMC]

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