On the Riviera
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When a famous French aviator is unable to attend a social gathering, his business partners hire an entertainer who closely resembles him to take his place.
Release Date: 22-MAY-2007
Media Type: DVD
Just as Love Affair inspired An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle, Folies Bergère inspired That Night in Rio and On the Riviera. In Walter Lang's Technicolor version, Danny Kaye takes on a dual role previously assumed by Maurice Chevalier and Don Ameche. A master of mistaken identity, Kaye makes it his own. His Jack Martin is an American song and dance man based in Monte Carlo. When playboy aviator Henri Duran (Kaye with French accent) returns from his latest adventure, Martin notices a resemblance. He also notices Duran's neglected wife, Lili (Gene Tierney). After Duran is called away on business, Martin is enlisted to impersonate him for an important function. That gives him the chance to cozy up to Lili--and infuriate dance partner Colette (Corinne Calvet). Duran pays him back with an impersonation of his own. It isn't Twelfth Night, but On the Riviera is an enjoyable diversion. It also represents a family affair, since designer Oleg Cassini outfitted wife Tierney and Sylvia Fine penned tunes for husband Kaye (except for the standard "Ballin' the Jack"). Though considered a minor effort in the canons of Lang and Kaye--the musical was more of an audience favorite than a critical darling--Fox has done right by this long-unavailable title with an interactive press book, featurettes, lobby cards, and a pristine print (heavy on the brilliant blues). Look sharp for future Fosse hoofer (and wife) Gwen Verdon as a dancer and Tierney's famous Laura portrait above Duran's fireplace. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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As usual, there are some pleasing musical moments from Kaye (his wife Sylvia Fine composed once again). However, being more sophisticated & subtle, Kaye has to play it semi-serious, so this one might not appeal to all viewers, although it's still an extremely pleasant film.
The DVD transfer preserves the movie's splashy scenery, filled with plenty of lush "eye candy" Riviera shots. But seeing how this film's been out of circulation for a long time, it's worth adding to your Kaye collection!
Top international reviews
It is dated, and may not win any awards, but it's a feel good farce from the past.
I really enjoyed it.
And by the way, Danny Kaye was truly a talented actor whose star has been allowed to wane. Watch this and you will see just good an enterainer he was.