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Darling Lili

98 customer reviews

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(Oct 25, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.
Genre: Musicals
Rating: G
Release Date: 25-OCT-2005
Media Type: DVD

A welcome new DVD life might be in store for Darling Lili, an underrated film whose reputation is mostly locked as one of the big, expensive flops that helped reshape Hollywood at the turn of the seventies. Julie Andrews was still at the height of her popularity when she began shooting this musical-comedy-drama with new husband Blake Edwards directing; budget overruns, studio interference, and the changing box-office climate all doomed the movie's disastrous 1970 release.

Even fans of the picture would have to admit that the weird storyline had something to do with it, too. Andrews plays a World War I singer in London and Paris who's actually a spy for the Germans (part of her cover is singing popular patriotic songs, such as "Pack Up Your Troubles" and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary"). Her new assignment is to get information from a famous pilot (Rock Hudson), but naturally she falls in love with him along the way. The movie's WWI aerial sequences (shot in Ireland) are a little like the film's approach: soaring, graceful, and disconnected from any carnage that might be happening in the trenches. However, if you can appreciate Edwards' slapstick prowess and commitment to the screwball-romance style of filmmaking, there's much to admire.

For one thing, Edwards photographs Julie Andrews with the loving devotion of a new husband. For another, his feeling for the widescreen frame as a big playground for lush color and busy action is well-served by the DVD release--this is a visually gorgeous movie. The new songs by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer include the superb opening number--evocatively shot--called "Whistling in the Dark." The DVD is billed as a "Director's Cut," but is shorter than the original release, a result of Edwards himself reportedly retooling the picture after 1970 (the disc has a whopping hour's worth of additional scenes). Whichever way it's sliced, Darling Lili was always going to be a strangely mixed movie, with Pink Panther-style bits sitting next to Mata Hari skullduggery. Fans of Julie Andrews and the vanished elegance of visual storytelling will find much to savor nevertheless. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • 19 additional scenes
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Julie Andrews, Rock Hudson, Jeremy Kemp, Lance Percival, Michael Witney
  • Directors: Blake Edwards
  • Writers: Blake Edwards, William Peter Blatty
  • Producers: Blake Edwards, Ken Wales, Owen Crump
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ANVPT2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,951 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Darling Lili" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Byron Kolln HALL OF FAME on November 23, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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".
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By OverTheHill on June 30, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Amazon has two item pages for Darling Lili, that is one for the director's cut (107 min) and the other appears to be for the original release (136 min). The picture showing the Director's Cut reads "Director's Cut" directly below the Movie Title. The page for the original does not say Director's Cut in the picture. Under product information for the original it states: ""Studio: Paramount, DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005, Run Time: 136 minutes, ASIN: B000ANVPT2 (the number for Director's Cut is different)."

I checked out the Director's Cut edition from the library and watched it. It was okay but it seemed choppy and I kept feeling like I was totally missing parts of the movie (it really jumped around in a bad way). I assumed that was the way the movie was made but I did some research and found out it was originally 136 minutes. It seemed to me 29 minutes was a lot to cut out of a movie and maintain any kind of flow so I started looking for the 136 minute version. Thought I had found it on Amazon. I wasn't crazy about the movie so I looked on Amazon Marketplace and found a "like new" copy to purchase. What I received was the Director's Cut. I promptly notified the vendor via email that they sent the wrong movie version. The vendor emailed back that the Director's Cut is the ONLY version available on DVD. I was also told to file a claim with Amazon to avoid shipping it back (shipping was half the cost of the movie). I did that and Amazon did refund the cost of the movie and shipping. I am very fond of Amazon.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rick D. Barszcz on October 8, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By B. LAWTON on September 20, 2005
Format: DVD
Sadly in revisiting this wonderful but unloved (at the time of it's initial theatrical release) film, Blake Edwards felt the need to edit it considerably - and it suffers. The original (longer) theatrical version is far superior and really should be released along with Edwards' shorter, needlessly apologetic rethinking - preferably with an examination by Edwards or qualified historians of the differences between the two versions and the reasons for the recut.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. William A. Rieck on October 29, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When Amazon e-mailed me that Darling Lili was finally being released on DVD I was ecstatic. Unlike many critics I thoroughly enjoyed the film when it was first released. I nice romantic spoof, I thought. I still do, but with a little disappointment. As I watched my memory seemed to recall things not in this version. When I saw the special features and some additional scenes I found what was missing. The package indicates a 107 run time, but the original, according to Maltin's book, was 136 minutes. In making the "directors cut", Blake Edwards has cut too much. If it were up to me I would include the slightly longer version of the first dogfight. I would also keep the little bit where the French inspectors mistake Jeremy Kemp for a head waiter. I would also retain the charming sequence with the children marching and singing. Finally, it is almost a tragedy the way the scene at the Inn was edited; several very humorous bits were left on the cutting room floor. All this aside, it is still an enjoyable film with a nice mix of drama, a little music, a great deal of romance, and some humor; just not as much humor as the original.
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