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Lili [VHS]

199 customer reviews

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Lili [VHS] + Gigi (1958)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Leslie Caron, Mel Ferrer, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Kurt Kasznar
  • Directors: Charles Walters
  • Writers: Helen Deutsch, Paul Gallico
  • Producers: Edwin H. Knopf
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: December 21, 1994
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302148332
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,245 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A shy young orphan who learns the truth about love with the help of a crippled puppeteer (Mel Ferrer).

Amazon.com

The wonderful Leslie Caron stars in this Oscar-winning musical fable with a touch of the bizarre. Caron plays Lili, a recently orphaned waif hopelessly in love with a carnival magician. Mel Ferrer plays Paul, a gruff puppeteer who can express his softer side only through his puppets. Sound weird? It is. Caron's performance is lovely. She is, as always, a graceful dancer, but she is also able to pull off the much more difficult task of making Lili pure and innocent without being icky--she talks to Paul's puppets with complete conviction. (The puppets, by the way, are incredibly creepy.) Younger viewers will take Lili at face value, but adults may well get sucked into its unintentional dark side: homelessness, suicide, emotional repression, and giant dancing puppets all come into play. Also enjoyable is Zsa Zsa Gabor, who does a great job standing around looking pretty as the magician's assistant. --Ali Davis

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Jim Jr on March 29, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
"Lili" is one of the most magical and enchanting films ever. It is a small film - not lavish and overblown - but a production that grabs your heart from the very beginning. Leslie Caron has never been better and richly deserved the Academy Award nomination (and should have won). Her scenes with the wonderful puppets (some of the best uses of puppetry in films) are completely enchanting. Mel Ferrer, Jean Pierre Aumont, Kurt Kasner and, surprisingly, Zsa Zsa Gabor couldn't be better. The excellent ballet sequence at the end of the film in which the puppets turn into the puppeteer each time Lili dances with them, showing her that the person behind the characters she has come to love is her real love, is a perfect resolution for the story. "Lili" was the basis for an equally wonderful Broadway musical, "Carnival". This is a film that can be viewed over and over and never lose it's charm and magic.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By J. Magin on August 28, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
How hard can it be to find a film with elements of homelessness, unemployment, despair, suicidal thoughts, thievery, feigned affection, disability and self-pity? Not very hard you say. But in a G-rated film barely eighty minutes long?

Still unavailable on DVD format, "Lili" (1953), is available only as a rare "Video Compact Disc" (VCD) which compresses movies onto (at least two) CD-sized disks; i.e., a CD which contains moving pictures and sound. By using an MPEG compression standard, VCDs can hold up to 700 Mb (eighty minutes) of full-motion video and quality stereo sound and can be played on almost all standalone DVD players and PCs. VCD quality is similar to that of VHS tapes.

VCD not withstanding, and barely a decade after "The Wizard of Oz," MGM still made the industry's best-looking films. The sets, costumes and color of "Lili" are outstanding. And at least two things in the film suggest that 1939 classic -- a puppet named "Golo" who resembles Burt Lahr's "Cowardly Lion," and a surreal, yellowish road on which Lili eventually seeks something better.

We first meet Lili (Leslie Caron), an orphaned teenager, at a bakery where a friend of her late father had promised her a job. But he too has died. Homeless and unemployed, she falls in with some traveling circus performers whose act causes her inattentiveness which immediately costs her the job she does get.

Deflated, she climbs a trapeze ladder but is thwarted by the high-pitched voice of "Carrot Top," one of four puppets manned by Paul Berthalet (Mel Ferrer). Paul is overtly bitter that his limp has reduced him from a once-famous dancer to a puppeteer on a French midway.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Leonard F. Wheat on April 4, 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
"Lili" ranks with "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" as one of the three finest motion pictures ever filmed. Its captivating song, "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo," ranks with "Over the Rainbow," "When You Wish Upon a Star," "You'll Never Know," and "It's a Grand Night for Singing" as one of the five best original movie songs. Its climactic dream-ballet sequence, in which Lili dances with life-sized versions of four puppets, is rivaled only by the "Out of My Dreams" dream-ballet sequence of "Oklahoma." And no actress has ever been more adorable and endearing--or capable--than Leslie Caron is in this movie.
Not really a musical, Lili is best described as a romantic fable or sophisticated fairy tale. It tells the story of a naive 16-year-old orphan who joins a carnival. There she brings success to a lame puppeteer (Mel Ferrer) by interacting with his four puppets. Her ingenuousness leads her to regard the puppets as real persons. Ferrer, though outwardly bitter about the war injury that ruined his career as an acclaimed dancer, shows flashes of inner kindness and humanity: he uses his puppets at one point to infuse joy into a despondent Lili, and he smiles when she isn't looking. Soon he falls in love with Lili. But she can't recognize as Ferrer's the tenderness that is revealed only in the puppets. Repelled by the overt rudeness of "the angry man," Lili becomes infatuated with the carnival's magician, a ladies' man. When she eventually learns the magician is married, Lili's eyes open. But the puppeteer's jealousy still clouds her vision. She decides to leave the carnival. Her departure precipitates the dream sequence.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jim Jr on March 20, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Just to set the record straight on the source of this magnificent film. It is NOT based on the book "Love for Seven Dolls". The book was written and published a few years AFTER the film came out. It is based on a short story by Paul Gallico titled "The 7 Souls of Clement O"Rielly" that was published in the Saturday Evening Post. In it the story is of a girl on a TV show acting with puppets who is going to leave, then realizes her love for the puppets is actually for the puppeteer.

It was a sort of take on the wonderful "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" program, but there was never a romance beteen Burr Tillstrom and Fran Allison. In fact, the book, "Love for 7 Dolls" is dedicated to Burr Tillstrom (the puppeteer for Kukla) and Fran Allison. So it is obvious Mr. Gallico is acknowledging the inspiration for the stories to the TV show.
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