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In this remake of Waterloo Bridge, a ballerina turns to prostitution when her fiance is reported killed in World War II.
Paratrooper Gregory Y. Wendell arrives in London in 1944 for a 48-hour leave. While he and his Army buddies rush to catch a cab to a dance hall, Greg bumps into French dancer Gabriel Dupluis, who drops some change. As he picks it up for her and accidentally hands her some of his, Greg is immediately smitten with Gaby and listens as she gives the cab driver directions to the Viceroy Theater. Later that night, Greg goes to the theater, where Gaby gracefully performs as part of the corps de ballet. When Greg meets her backstage, Gaby assumes that he has come for his change. Greg instead tries to entice her into joining him on a date, but Gaby coldly informs him that she has business entertaining forlorn French troops at a French canteen. After Greg jokes that she can leave the soldiers, Gaby is offended by his insensitivity and goes backstage, where she complains that Americans are boastful, spoiled and over four years delinquent with their help in the war effort. Determined to win her heart, Greg searches all the French canteens until he finds Gaby, who caustically insinuates that he has no sympathy for the French soldiers' trauma. Trying to prove his worth, Greg stands on a table and begins singing a traditional French song in his goofy broken French, thoroughly entertaining all the canteen patrons. Charmed by his efforts, Gaby allows him to walk her home. When an air raid warning sounds, they rush to a shelter, where he admits that as an isolated Nebraskan he has clichéd notions of the French but comes from happily married parents, while Gaby admits that she believed most American couples were divorced. After the all clear signal is given, they go to a posh American "bottle club" where Greg invites Gaby to dance and professes he fell in love with her the first moment he saw her. Meanwhile, Gaby tells him that her family was killed in Paris during the German invasion. When he escorts her home, Gaby offers to pray for his safety but refuses a second date. The next morning, Gaby tells her roommate and fellow dancer Elsa that she is tired of penny-pinching, being prompt for performances and always distancing herself from anyone involved in the war. Soon after, when Greg shows up unannounced and asks for Gaby's hand in marriage, Gaby jumps at the chance to change her life. Fearing her friend will be hurt, Elsa reminds Greg that as a Catholic, Gaby can never be divorced. Greg tries to reassure Elsa that he is worthy of Gaby, telling her "if we were willing to wait, it wouldn't be worth waiting for." Later that day, Greg and Gaby go to the marriage license office and discover that the American Army requires a "cooling off period," which includes obtaining approval from a family member and his commanding officer. Greg calls Aunt Helen Carrington, who resides in London, and makes an appointment for her to meet Gaby the next day. That night they return to her apartment to find Elsa has bought them a wedding cake and left the apartment so that they might share their newlywed night alone. As Greg kisses Gaby, she grows nervous about sleeping with him before their marriage is official, prompting Greg to offer to leave to assuage her fears. Later that night, Greg calls Gaby to inform her that his leave has been canceled and he must report to a train station immediately. Gaby rushes to the station just in time to see Greg waving to her from a closed car. After several months of receiving letters from Greg, Gaby learns that D-Day, an all-out Allied offensive, has begun. Weeks later, Helen invites Gaby to visit her at her upscale London apartment. Believing that she is being interviewed as a prospective new family member, Gaby solemnly vows to make Greg a good wife, prompting Helen to break down in tears. Gaby then realizes that Helen, far from judging her, has actually called to tell her that Greg is dead. Horrified, she leaves for her apartment, where she laments to Elsa that she will never forgive herself for cruelly refusing Greg during their one night together. Weeks later, after Paris is liberated, Gaby sleeps with a traumatized French soldier to comfort him and appease her own grief. Arriving back at her apartment the next morning, Gaby tells Elsa she has lost faith in the virtue she was trained to hold sacred. When weeks later Gaby receives word that Greg is actually alive, she is distraught about her sins. Ecstatic to see Gaby, Greg explains to her and Helen that after being wounded, he was so delirious that he did not know who he was for several months. When Helen senses Gaby's shame during the reunion, she sends Greg on an errand and suggests to Gaby that her own happiness is in part due to keeping her troubles to herself. Soon after Helen's husband Edgar surprises the couple with a wedding party and tells them he has arranged official permission for them to marry the following day. Gaby is so disturbed by the prospect of keeping her secret from Greg for the rest of their lives, that she goes to her room to pack her things and leave. Finding her there, Greg begs to know the truth and assumes Gaby has fallen in love with someone else. Gaby finally tells him that she has slept with many other men after learning he was dead. Shocked by the news, Greg is unable to speak, causing Gaby to flee from the house into the dark, war-torn London streets. Hobbling after her on his injured leg, Greg finds Gaby just as bombs begin to fall again. After a building explodes just above Gaby, Greg rushes to her aid and tells her that they cannot blame each other for what the war has done to them. As they embrace and kiss, a nearby constable lightly cautions them to stop, stating, "there's a war on, you know."
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 9 May 1956|
|Release Date:||1956||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Color (Eastmancolor)||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
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Purple Daisy 2014-07-02
"Gaby" (1956) is an excellent and underrated film about a French ballerina's romance in London during WWII. Leslie Caron gives a superb...
Better than Waterloo
I love this movie! John Kerr truly shows off he's better than just a pretty face lip-syncing to lines (ie: South Pacific). Leslie Caron may not have...