Lili and The Story of Three Loves (1953)
Every once in a while I get a case of the “classics” – classic movies, that is. It usually happens when I stumble across something interesting on TCM while channel surfing, and 3 hours later I’m still on the channel. I like discovering movies I’ve never seen or heard of before.
Last week I saw Lili and The Story of Three Loves.
I only caught the ending of Lili, but I’ve seen that movie many times so I didn’t mind. It’s about a young girl, Lili (played by Leslie Caron), who wanders into the grounds of a traveling circus. She sees a puppet show and establishes such a rapport with the dolls that the puppeteer (Mel Ferrer) starts to include her in the act. Eventually he falls in love with her, but he’s a cripple so he doesn’t think she’ll love him back. But of course she does, and they walk off into the sunset together.
Lili is one of those what I like to call “quiet” movies in that it really doesn’t have any big or showstopping numbers even though it’s a musical. It’s just a simple story of boy meets girl with some lovely songs – including the sweet “Hi Lili, Hi Lo”.
The Story of Three Loves is told in flashback. It focuses on three passengers on a ship and tells each of their stories in turn. It also stars Leslie Caron, along with Kirk Douglas and Pier Angeli. I didn’t catch the beginning of the movie because I had to take care of some things, but according to
Wikipedia my extensive research, the first love story does not have a happy ending so it’s ok that I missed it, I guess. In the second story, Leslie Caron is a tutor in Paris to a young boy who has a crush on her. With the help of the neighborhood witch, he turns into a grown man so he can go out with Leslie, but only until midnight. I’m so glad that nothing else happened on their date because that would have been creepy! The next day the boy, back to his normal self, has to go back to the States with his parents while Leslie stays behind. She’s all sad because she doesn’t see her date again, but she meets a nice young man on the ship and they have drinks and a smile. Pan to the next passenger, Kirk Douglas, and we flashback to his story. He used to be a famous trapeze artist, but an accident which led to his partner’s death has made him abandon the circus life. Then he sees Pier Angeli trying to kill herself by jumping into the Seine and saves her. Her husband was killed in a concentration camp so she doesn’t want to live any more, which gets Kirk to thinking that she would be perfect as his partner because she would be fearless. They practice the most dangerous stunt ever (which I think caused his former partner’s death) for a circus promoter, but after they accomplish it and get rave reviews from the promoter who wants to hire them, Kirk and Pier just walk away. We go back to the ship where Kirk is waiting for his lady love, who turns out to be Pier Angeli! (It felt weird not to use her whole name.)
The movie was another one of those quiet ones that I’d never heard of. All the time I was watching Kirk’s segment all I was thinking was damn! Michael Douglas’s dad is built!
But I did enjoy the movie. That’s why I love classic Hollywood, especially the musicals. The stories are simple yet heart-warming. They don’t need fancy effects to get their point across, and after the movie your heart feels lighter. I was so inspired that I might start posting more about my favorite classic movies. If you have any favorites or recommendations please share them too!
(Images courtesy of moviemem.com and posterpalace.com)