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In order to seek a public divorce, a symphony conductor and his harpist wife must first be legally married.
When Dolly Fabian, the harpist wife of Victor Fabian, the egomaniacal director of the London Festival Orchestra, returns home from charming the symphony's trustees into accommodating her husband's demands, she finds Victor trifling with his twenty-one-year-old "child prodigy" pianist. Furious, Dolly explodes, and after Victor puts his foot through her harp, she leaves him. Eighteen months later, Victor finds that he is unable to conduct more than the opening four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and the symphony board declares that they are not interested in Victor without Dolly. Maxwell Archer, Victor's agent, tries to convince Victor to reconcile with Dolly, who is now teaching music at a college, and consequently, when Dolly sends Victor a letter stating that she wants to see him, Victor sweeps into her office brandishing flowers and his recording of Romeo and Juliet . When Dolly announces that she wants a divorce, not a reconciliation, Victor falls through her harp. Refusing to admit defeat, Victor has Max lie to Luigi Bardini, the manager of the Festival Concert Hall, that he and Dolly are reconciling. When Bardini comes to the house and discovers that Dolly is not there, he warns Victor that Mr. Wilbur, Jr., the son of the orchestra's benefactor, Mrs. Wilbur, is coming to meet Dolly that afternoon. Soon after, Wilbur arrives, and when he confides that he dislikes music and that his position on the symphony board was thrust upon him along with his late father's canned goods business, a peeved Victor is about to walk out. When he opens the door, however, he finds Dolly standing outside. Passionately embracing Dolly, Victor pushes Wilbur out the door. Dolly is furious when she learns that Victor lied about their reconciliation, but when Wilbur returns with the news that his mother wants Victor to play her favorite tune, John Philip Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever" at his concert, Dolly shields him from Victor's blast of bad temper. After Wilbur leaves, Dolly insists on a divorce, and when Victor tries to charm her into changing her mind, she bristles at his manipulation and blurts out that she is getting married. To Max's consternation, Victor casually states that one needs to be married in order to get a divorce, and they are not married. When Dolly explains that she wanted to make sure that they were compatible before committing to marriage, and that once Victor was appointed director of the orchestra, they were ashamed to admit that they never married, Max suggests having a secret wedding, followed by a divorce. Victor agrees to facilitate Dolly's divorce if she will live with him for the next three weeks. Calling Victor a "road company Svengali," Dolly storms out, and Victor instructs Max to summon Dolly's fiancé, the physicist Dr. Richard Hilliard, to London. Later, as Max tells Dolly that a secret wedding ceremony has been arranged, news comes that Victor has insulted violinist Jascha Gendel, who is the union member on the board of trustees. To forestall a complaint by Gendel, Max agrees to shorten Dolly's stay with Victor from three weeks to three days if she will mollify Gendel. After the newlyweds return home from their wedding, Gendel comes to see Victor. Dolly greets him, and once she deduces that he is a prima donna obsessed with his fingers, she gushes over his hands and wheedles him into retracting his complaint. Later, after Victor melts down Dolly's reserve and is about to make love to her, Hilliard arrives. Dolly, now dressed in a frilly nightgown, hides as Victor tries to get rid of Hilliard. Throwing Victor's coat over her nightgown, Dolly makes a dash for the door, but is stopped by Hilliard, who grabs her and insists that she return Victor's coat. When he sees that she is wearing a nightgown, Hilliard loosens his grip, sending her falling to the floor where she strikes her head and is knocked unconscious. Upon reviving, Dolly accuses Victor of trying to sabotage her engagement and explains to Hilliard that Victor will only grant her a divorce if she spends the next two nights with him. On the night of the concert, as a drunken Dolly waits in Victor's dressing room, she watches a televised interview with Victor in which he pays a saccharine tribute to her. After she throws a bust of Victor through the screen, Hilliard enters and, when he asks if she still loves Victor, she states that she wants to live alone. After Hilliard leaves, Victor and Max arrive, followed by Wilbur, who delivers Victor's new three-year contract that Dolly worked out with Mrs. Wilbur. Handing Wilbur back the contract, Victor informs Wilbur that he and Dolly are getting divorced. Dolly demands that he sign it anyway, and as Victor pens his name, Wilbur begins whistling "The Stars and Stripes Forever." Realizing that the contract requires him to play the dreaded piece, Victor threatens to kick Mrs. Wilbur's teeth down her throat, then ascends the podium and plays a glorious rendition of "The Stars and Stripes." Touched, Dolly tearfully blows him a kiss.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 11 Feb 1960|
|Release Date:||1960||Production Date:||
Col; Mertz; EBXX; 16mm print at AMPASA; UCLA has 35mm print R-A7-241-1, M38303; AFI
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Stanley Donen Films, Inc.|
|Duration(mins):||92||Country:||France and United States|
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Mayhaps just watch it with the sound off...
el debbo 2014-09-14
Ms. Kendall's wardrobe by Givenchy. Jewelry by Cartier. Lovely set of an over-the-top house that orchestra leader Yul and harpist Kay share some of...
Long-time fan of this movie
Brynner had So Much Fun with his image in this delightful film, and Kay Kendall matched him every step of the way, under Stanley Donen's assured...
i cant believe this is not yet out on dvd!!!!
Yul Brynner is a great actor! i have watched him in the king and i, and i've seen him in the ten comandments, and i saw him several months back on TCM...