Paris when it fizzles. A remake of the 1953 French picture HENRIETTE'S HOLIDAY (directed by Julien Duvivier), this movie pairs Holden and Hepburn for the first time since SABRINA, in 1954. Holden is a screenwriter under pressure from movie producer Coward to finish his latest script, "The
Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower." Coward gives him 48 hours to finish, unaware that the writer has yet to begin. Hoping to hurry the process along, Holden hires a secretary, Hepburn. She moves in with him, and during her short stay they fall madly in love, while confusing their own lives with
those of the script's characters. They imagine themselves in various scenes from the film--a western, a musical, a spy drama, a romance, a comedy--with their fantasies taking precedence over their work. When the 48-hour time limit has expired, they still have no script. Distraught, Holden tells
Hepburn that he is not good enough for her, and she leaves. But an unhappy ending is not in the cards.
The couple's relationship takes off with the promise of a Hollywood-style romance. Unfortunately, PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES falls as flat as "The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower." Although the locations and Hepburn both photograph brilliantly, the relationship between Hepburn and Holden never comes to
life. This is not surprising, since Holden and Hepburn were on rather shaky ground in real life. During the filming of SABRINA Holden had found himself falling uncontrollably in love with Hepburn. Ten years after her refusal to marry him, the two paired in PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES. Holden's biography
reports that Holden once told Ryan O'Neal, "I remember the day I arrived at Orly Airport for PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES. I could hear my footsteps echoing against the walls of the transit corridor, just like a condemned man walking the last mile. I realized that I had to face Audrey and I had to deal
with my drinking. And I didn't think I could handle either situation." Hepburn tried her best to make Holden comfortable (which only made Holden want her more) and to ease tensions on the set. After the first day's "rushes," however, Hepburn was extremely dissatisfied with how she had been
photographed. She demanded that Renoir be fired (a gross insult to the highly respected family name in Paris). Franz Planer was the first-choice replacement; but when his schedule was found to be too busy, Lang was picked. After that delay another, more-major setback followed. Holden's drinking
binges alternated with a clinic dryout and then a bout with minor injuries sustained in a car accident. (With only one more scene to complete, he had bought a Ferrari, driven to Switzerland for Bastille Day--ignoring the pleas of Quine and Axelrod--and crashed into a brick wall.) In what seemed
like a desperate attempt to add some stronger box office potential to the film, Quine enlisted a number of big names to appear in a party scene, among them Dietrich (who reportedly got to keep the limousine and the fur coat in which she arrives in the film), Ferrer (Hepburn's husband at that
time), Curtis, and the singing voices of Sinatra and Astaire. All of this box office artillery, however, couldn't raise PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES to anything more than an average piece of entertainment.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Paris when it fizzles. A remake of the 1953 French picture HENRIETTE'S HOLIDAY (directed by Julien Duvivier), this movie pairs Holden and Hepburn for the first time since SABRINA, in 1954. Holden is a screenwriter under pressure from movie producer Coward… (more)