Directed by: Charles Walters (USA)
CINEMATECA PORTUGUESA - MUSEU DO CINEMA - Sala M. Félix Ribeiro
13 May at 6pm (Wed)
With: Leslie Caron, Mel Ferrer, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kurt Kasznar, Amanda Blake Script: Helen Deutsch, based on a story by Paul Gallico
1953, USA, 81 min. / With electronic subtitles in Portuguese Age guidance: +12
A song of love is a sad song, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo, A song of love is a song of woe, Don't ask me how I know, A song of love is a sad song, For I have loved and it's so, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo, Hi-Lo…
Lili is one of the most unforgettable films with puppets. An absolute classic that will put on a smile on your face.
A young girl with dreamy eyes, who still believes in the beauty of the world and that puppets can have a life of their own. A film to be view and review, which has not been shown at the Cinemateca since 1986.
Walton and O'Rourke made the puppets, famous in puppeteering circles, they mostly worked in cabarets. Walton and O'Rourke manipulated Marguerite and Reynardo, the great puppeteer George Latshaw was responsible for Carrot Top, and Wolo Von Trutzschler for Golo the Giant.
Traveling with little more than her naïveté, sunny teenager Lili (Leslie Caron) arrives in a new town and is befriended by a circus troupe. Though she becomes infatuated with the dashing magician, Marcus the Magnificent (Jean-Pierre Aumont), Lili forms a more significant bond with puppeteer Paul (Mel Ferrer) and his four puppets, which she treats as real people. Together, Lili, Paul and the puppets prove to be a popular act, but their success and happiness are threatened by Paul's gruffness.
The director Charles Walters created a world of fantasy, with the leading role played by the French actress Leslie Caron, who was 22 years old at the time. She was Oscar-nominated for her performance in Lili. The screenplay, written by Helen Deutsch, was based on a short story a short story in The Saturday Evening Post by Paul Gallico, The Man Who Hated People, in 1950. After the film's success, Gallico expanded his story into a 1954 novella entitled The Love of Seven Dolls. Its impact lasted until 1961, when it was the basis for a successful Broadway musical, Carnival.
Charles Walters (1911-1982) wasn an American dancer, choreographer, actor and film director who was best known for his work on MGM musicals. His notable directorial credits included Good News, Easter Parade and High Society. He worked with the biggest stars of the time, such as Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Peter Lawford, June Allyson or Esther Williams. Charles Walters staged the iconic musical sequences of Hollywood's golden age. From the trolley scene in Meet Me in St. Louis to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers's last dance on the silver screen, The Barkleys of Broadway. He also directed Cary Grant's last film, Walk, Don't Run.
Curiously, the first known appearance of the “smiley” emoticon occurred on March 10, 1953 in an ad for the movie that was placed in the New York Herald Tribune: “Today You’ll laugh :) You’ll cry :’( You’ll love <3 ‘Lili’.”
Lili won the Academy Award Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture and was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Color, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color. The film also won in the International Prize of Entertainment Film in the Cannes Film Festival, and the BAFTA Film Award of Best Foreign Actress.