Love in the Afternoon (1957)

Love in the Afternoon (1957), produced and directed by Billy Wilder.

The daughter of a Parisian private eye has to warn a wealthy American playboy that a jealous husband is about to shoot him. That good deed done, she can be his next sexual conquest if she's willing. Oddly enough: she's willing.

The witty sexual innuendo is poured on thickly here, with something naughty and sparkling in every paragraph. For example:


[jealous husband getting a report on his wife's torrid affair, with photos...]

Detective: American. Very rich. Oil, construction business, turbo-jet engines, Pepsi-Cola...

Client: "The Pause that Refreshes"?

Detective: No, that's the other one: "Pepsi-Cola hits the spot!"

Client: (moans)

[later, the detective with his daughter...]

Daughter: He's got such an American face, like a cowboy or Abraham Lincoln.

Detective: You know what happened to Lincoln? And right in the middle of a performance!

Daughter: (startled, wide-eyed)

Gary Cooper is way too old for Audrey Hepburn, but maybe audiences remembered him from earlier decades (when Marlene Dietrich reportedly said "Ooh, Daddy, would you buy me one of doze?") and figured the glamor was still operating.

This actually makes for some ingenious chemistry: at first she doesn't seem interested in him personally, but is rather intrigued with the idea of sexual abandon with a notoriously great lover. She can't help falling for him for real, of course.

It's a bit too long and the humor wanders into unneeded absurdity, as with the gypsy band in the steam bath.

Franz Waxman score. Photographed by William C. Mellor.