In 1970, director Blake Edwards and his actress-wife Julie Andrews joined forces for a musical based on the life of legendary double agent Mata Hari that became one of the most infamous flops in cinematic history. In addition to exceeding both its budget and production schedule, DARLING LILI suffered from a serious tonal confusion that made it difficult to classify as either a comedy or drama--not to mention the fact that lavishly overblown musicals were considered hopelessly square by the time of the film's flower-power release date.
Andrews nonetheless delivers an achingly lovely performance as the title character, Lili Smith/Schmidt, a WWI-era German spy who sings at a Parisian nightclub and uses her feminine wiles to milk military secrets from her Allied clientele. When Lili falls in love with one of her unwitting informants, the dashingly handsome American soldier William Larrabee (Rock Hudson), she suffers a crisis of conscience that puts both of their lives in danger. Enlivened by a romantic score by acclaimed composer Henry Mancini, the film benefits greatly from this 1990s director's cut made for the TNT cable network, which shortens the running time and solves its original tonal dilemma with a darker, more dramatic sensibility.
Love Affairs |
Musical Sequences |
World War I