powered by AFI
Only in the romantic city of Paris could an unlikely couple like Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn find Love in the Afternoon (1957). Hepburn plays Ariane Chavasse, an inquisitive girl of eighteen who longs to be a wise, mature woman. Her father, Claude Chavasse (Maurice Chevalier) is a detective who specializes in adultery cases and often brings home a day's work filled with juicy anecdotes and scandalous tales. Upon overhearing her father's conversation with a client who threatens to murder his wife's lover, Ariane decides to take matters into her own hands and goes to warn the playboy, Frank Flannagan (Gary Cooper). Armed with little more than the information in her father's files, Ariane sets out to seduce the wealthy American playboy. Despite the age difference (a real 28 years between them), Cooper's middle-aged bachelor is no match for the charming allure of Hepburn.
Co-written and directed by Billy Wilder, Love in the Afternoon was filmed on location in Paris, showing off such sites as the Paris Opera House and the Chateau de Vitry. Like Sabrina(1954), a previous Wilder film also starring Audrey Hepburn, this May-December affair dealt with a younger woman's affection for an older man. Yet, despite the potentially disturbing age differences between the two characters, Love in the Afternoon managed to escape scathing comments from moralists due to Wilder's subtle handling of the subject matter. For instance, Ariane was always fully clothed and never seen in a compromising situation with Flannagan. Only the occasional removal of her gloves and Flannagan bestowing kisses on her hand and arm hinted that the couple were involved romantically. When the film was released in Europe, the ending was altered slightly, leaving the relationship between Ariane and Flannagan unresolved. The U.S. version, however, concludes with a promise of commitment between the two lovers.
For Love in the Afternoon, production designer Alexandre Trauner made use of Paris as a backdrop, weaving the city into the sets and creating a world that manages to be not only realistic but romantic. Wilder and Trauner would collaborate on six more films after Love In The Afternoon. Among their successful collaborations were One, Two, Three (1961),Irma la Douce (1963) and The Apartment (1960) for which Trauner was awarded the Oscar® for Best Black and White Art/Set Direction. Trauner's influence on the movies wasn't limited to design. He has a cameo role as an artist in Love in the Afternoon and can also be seen in the 1989 drama, Reuion, where he plays the caretaker of an estate.
Director/Producer: Billy Wilder
Screenplay: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, (based on the novel Ariane by Claude Anet)
Cinematography: William Mellor
Editor: Leonide Azar
Art Direction: Alexander Trauner
Music: Franz Waxman
Cast: Gary Cooper (Frank Flannagan), Audrey Hepburn (Ariane Chavasse), Maurice Chevalier (Claude Chavasse), Van Doude (Michel), John McGiver (M. X), Lise Bourdin (Mme. X).
by Kerryn Sherrod & Stephanie Thames