Love in the Afternoon
Cast & Crew
Widowed Parisian detective Claude Chavasse enjoys his work, which involves investigating infidelities for his many wealthy clients, but tries to shelter his beloved daughter Ariane from the sordid details. However, Ariane, who takes care of her father and is training to be a concert cellist, is fascinated by the cases and loves to read the romantic details in his files. On the morning that Claude is reporting damning information to Monsieur X about Madame X's meetings at the Ritz Hotel with wealthy American business executive Frank Flannagan, Ariane eavesdrops on their conversation from her room. When Monsieur X tells Claude that he plans to shoot Flannagan that night at precisely ten o'clock, the time at which Flannagan always dismisses the gypsy musicians who perform for him each night in suite, Ariane determines that she must do something to stop him.
That evening, when the police will not take action on her telephone tip, Ariane convinces her adoring fellow music student Michel to drive her to the Ritz. There, by sneaking onto the ledge, she is able to get into Flannagan's hotel room and warn him and Madame X about her husband. Moments later, when Monsieur X enters Flannagan's room brandishing a gun, Flannagan's paramour is revealed to be Ariane, who is wearing Madame X's veiled hat. Flustered but happy, Monsieur X concludes that Claude was wrong and leaves the hotel a happy man. When they are alone, Flannagan makes a play for the attractive, innocent-looking Ariane, who does not divulge her identity. Calling her only "thin girl," Flannagan asks to see her again the following evening. When she insists that she cannot and says that she is living with a man, he asks her to come at 4:00 in the afternoon. Although she determines not to see Flannagan again, she goes to the Ritz the next day. He is again intrigued by her and admires her for seemingly having the same sort of attitude toward men as he does women.
After Flannagan leaves Paris, Ariane, who has fallen in love with him, follows his romantic escapades as they are reported in newspapers and magazines throughout the world. Months later, while Ariane and Michel are sitting in balcony seats at the opera, she is startled to see Flannagan on the main floor, accompanied by a beautiful woman. During the interval, she catches Flannagan's eye, but he fails to recognize her. Moments later, though, he realizes that she is "thin girl" and invites her to come to the Ritz the next afternoon. Though again protesting that she has no time, Ariane goes to the Ritz and begins seeing Flannagan every afternoon for the next several weeks.
Refusing to reveal anything about her true life, or even her name, Ariane increasingly captivates Flannagan, who starts to become jealous of her other lovers, all characters she has extracted from her father's cases. One night, after Ariane has become miffed when Flannagan receives a call from Swedish twins with whom he has been involved, Ariane records a fictitious litany of her lovers and leaves it on his Dictaphone machine. When he plays the recording after she leaves, he initially laughs, but as the gypsies play their emotionally romantic melodies, he becomes increasingly drunk and is overcome by jealousy, an emotion he has never before experienced.
At daybreak, Flannagan and the gypsies go to a Turkish bath, where Flannagan is recognized by Monsieur X. Telling him that he is now a very happy man, Monsieur X advises the obviously lovesick Flannagan to hire a detective who can confirm his worst fears, one way or the other. Initially skeptical, Flannagan soon relents and takes the business card Monsieur X has given him, leading him to Claude. At the Chavasse apartment, because Ariane is washing her hair in her room, she does not see or hear Flannagan. Claude is initially overjoyed to meet his favorite subject face-to-face and surprised that this time it is Flannagan who wants a woman followed. Recognizing that the details "thin girl" has told Flannagan about her romantic activities closely mimic those of his past cases, Claude soon realizes that Ariane is the woman Flannagan has been seeing. Saddened that his own daughter has become involved in the sordid affairs of his work, Claude tells Flannagan that he will meet him that afternoon with the information he wants.
Later, at the Ritz, Flannagan is impressed that Claude has discovered "thin girl's" identity so quickly until Claude reveals that she is his young and innocent daughter. Claude implores him to throw back "such a little fish," instead of breaking her heart, then leaves. Chastened by Claude's words, Flannagan decides to leave Paris immediately. When Ariane arrives at the Ritz, she is stunned and hurt by Flannagan's plans but pretends that she does not mind and accompanies him to the train station. They say an amicable, unemotional goodbye, but as Flannagan hangs onto the train's steps, gazing at Ariane, she runs alongside, reciting an incessant list of places she will go and the men with whom she will be spending time in the coming year. Moments before the train leaves the station, Flannagan sweeps Ariane onto the train and into his compartment, where she cries as he kisses her and whispers "be quiet, Ariane."
Jo De Bretagne
Maurice De Feraudy
I. A. L. Diamond
Hubert De Givenchy
F. D. Marchetti
Jay Morley Jr.
Al St. Hilaire
Ray Taylor Jr.
Love in the Afternoon
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
Love in the Afternoon
TCM Remembers - Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder had the most deliciously dirty mind in Hollywood. The director dug into racy, controversial subjects with cynical wit and rare candor; he set new standards for film noir, sex comedies and the buddy film and his movies continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers.
Cameron Crowe, screenwriter and director of contemporary hit films such as Jerry Maguire(1996), was one of those moved by Wilder's film sense. The struggling filmmaker struck up a friendship with the 93-year old veteran and found a friend and a mentor. Their conversations were recently chronicled in a book by Cameron Crowe entitled Conversations with Wilder(published by Knoft).
Billy Wilder might have been born in Vienna, but American culture influenced him from the earliest days. Given the name Samuel, Wilder's mother called her son 'Billy' in honor of Buffalo Bill Cody. The name stuck.
Billy was as restless as his namesake and left law school to become a journalist. While grinding out articles for a Berlin newspaper, Wilder joined with future film directors Fred Zinnemann, Robert Sidomak and Edgar G. Ulmer to make a short film, Menschen Am Sonntag (1929). By the mid-1930s, he had written seven scenarios and even tried his hand at directing. After Hitler's rise to power in 1934, Wilder fled his homeland. Once in Hollywood, Wilder and roommate Peter Lorre had to learn English quickly if they wanted to join the American film industry. Together the German expatriates learned the language and began staking their territory in the Dream Factory.
As a writer, Wilder could craft realistic relationships with sharp dialogue; he proved this in his scripts for Ninotchka (1939) with Greta Garbo and Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire(1941). As a filmmaker, Wilder was well acquainted with the shadowy, brooding style of German Expressionism. He brought these two gifts together to create a landmark film noir - DOUBLE INDEMNITY(1944). He followed this cinematic triumph with a risky project, the story of an alcoholic on a three-day binge. Not the usual subject matter for a Hollywood studio, THE LOST WEEKEND (1945) nevertheless claimed the Academy Award for Best Picture. By the end of the decade, Wilder dared even to paint a portrait of Hollywood stardom gone awry in Sunset Boulevard (1950).
Each of these films is an undisputed classic today, but even at the time, his films were lauded. Six of his screenplays were nominated for Oscars between 1941-1950. Three of his eight Best Director nominations also came during this period. Billy Wilder claimed the American Dream; he was successfully playing by his own rules.
By the end of the '50s, as censorship guidelines were easing, Wilder's projects became even more daring. Sex was central to Wilder's world and Hollywood celebrated his candor. He directed Marilyn Monroe in two of her most sensuous roles, The Seven Year Itch (1955) and SOME LIKE IT HOT(1959). More often than not, Wilder liked pointing his finger at the hyprocrisy of people's sexual mores. In THE APARTMENT(1960), Wilder took an incisive look at corrupt businessmen exploiting their employees for sexual favors. In IRMA LA DOUCE (1963), the world of a Parisian prostitute was lovingly painted in Technicolor tones. In Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), Wilder finally stepped over the line with the story of a struggling composer willing to offer his wife to sell a song.The film, which seems so innocent today, was scandalous in its own day. Critics called Kiss Me, Stupid pornographic smut and buried the picture. Audiences ignored it. Today, the film is a risque farce with great performances by Dean Martin and Kim Novak. The critical lambast deeply affected Wilder; this would be his last sex comedy.
In 1966 Wilder brought together the dynamic combination of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau with THE FORTUNE COOKIE. Director and stars teamed again for The Front Page (1974), a remake of the newspaper classic; and Buddy, Buddy (1981), the story of an assassin and a sad sack ready to commit suicide.
Wilder's many years in Hollywood produced an amazing string of hits. From sarcastic and cynical social commentary to outrageous sex farce, Wilder pushed his audiences to look at their own values and morals. He was an outsider who wasn't afraid to point out the follies of his fellow man or the worst aspects of American culture. He will be sorely missed.
By Jeremy Geltzer
TCM Remembers - Billy Wilder
They're very odd people, you know. When they're young, they have their teeth straightened, their tonsils taken out and gallons of vitamins pumped into them. Something happens to their insides! They become immunized, mechanized, air-conditioned and hydromatic. I'm not even sure whether he has a heart.- Ariane Chavasse
What is he? A creature from outer space?- Michel
No. He's an American.- Ariane Chavasse
Working on a new case?- Ariane Chavasse
A client from Brussels. His wife ran away to Paris with the chauffeur. I have to find them; the husband wants his car back.- Claude Chavasse
In Paris people eat better, and in Paris people make love, well, perhaps not better, but certainly more often.- Claude Chavasse
Papa, you are a cynic!- Ariane Chavasse
I guess I am.- Claude Chavasse
You enjoy your work!- Ariane Chavasse
I guess I do.- Claude Chavasse
You'd enjoyed it even if you weren't paid for it!- Ariane Chavasse
I wouldn't go that far.- Claude Chavasse
Please, monsieur, is the news good or bad?- Monsieur X
That depends. Is this your wife?- Claude Chavasse
It looks like her.- Monsieur X
Then I regret to inform you that it looks bad.- Claude Chavasse
Then there IS another man!- Monsieur X
There is. And I regret to say that he looks good.- Claude Chavasse
What does he export and what does he import?- Frank Flannagan
Oh, he uh--he exports perfume and imports bananas. There's a fortune in it. Do you realize that for one bottle of perfume you get twelve bananas?- Ariane Chavasse
Twelve bananas for one bottle of--doesn't sound like such a hot deal to me.- Frank Flannagan
It's a tiny bottle of perfume and very large bananas.- Ariane Chavasse
The original ending of the film just showed the two lovers departing together on a train, which threatened to land the film on the Catholic Legion of Decency's "Condemned List." As a result, 'Chevalier, Maurice' was called back to do the voice-over now heard at the close of the film, in which he reports that the couple are "now married and serving a life sentence in New York City."
Cary Grant was offered the part of Frank Flannigan but turned it down because of the age difference between him and Audrey Hepburn.
Yul Brynner was also considered for the lead role, which was going to be a more exotic character.
The recurring line "Pepsi Cola hits the spot" refers to the then-current jingle for the soft drink.
Audrey Hepburn's character (Ariane) and 'Maurice Chevalier' 's character (Claude) are named after the film's scriptwriter, 'Claude Arianet' .
To dispel any impression that Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper actually have sex in their many afternoon meetings in his hotel room, a line was dubbed into the release print. When his back is turned to the camera in Chevalier's office, Cooper is heard to say, "I can't get to first base with her."
The opening credits appear across the window shade of a Paris hotel room that has been drawn against the afternoon sun. At the end of the opening credits, a picture of Paris is shown, followed by a brief montage narrated by Maurice Chevalier, who introduces his character, private detective "Claude Chavasse" by stating, "This is the city, Paris, France." He then narrates a montage to illustrate his point that, in Paris, when it comes to making love, "everyone does it," from "the butcher" and "the baker" to the "friendly undertaker."
The montage ends at the Place Vendôme, where Chevalier is standing at the top of the central column, using a camera with a long-range lens to shoot pictures of "Madame X" and her lover, "Frank Flannagan." At the end of the film, Chevalier is seen in the train station, with his voice heard offscreen stating, "On Monday, August 24th of this year, the case of Frank Flannagan and Ariane Chavasse came up before the superior judge in Cannes. They are now married, serving a life sentence in New York, state of New York, U.S.A." Chevalier's narration mimics the style of the popular 1950s television series Dragnet, in which the date, city and case were described at the beginning and ending of each episode.
As noted in the onscreen credits, the film was shot entirely in Paris. Interiors were filmed at the Studios de Boulogne on the outskirts of Paris, with exterior and background shots of the Ritz Hotel, the Place Vendôme and various Parisian streets. According to an August 1957 American Cinematographer article on the production written about director of photography William Mellor, the picnic sequence was shot on the grounds of the historic Château de Vitry outside Gambais, France. Although the film's pressbook claimed that the scenes set inside Paris' famed "L'Opera" were actually filmed there, the American Cinematographer article clearly stated that, because filming would have been too difficult at the real site, it was recreated at Studios de Boulogne.
According to Hollywood Reporter news items, French radio comedienne Minerva Pious was to have a featured role, and actresses Lyn Thomas and Anne Fleming were cast in the picture, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Twins Leila and Va
lerie Croft were cast in the film as "the Swedish Twins" according to news items. Although a photograph of the twins with Flannagan is briefly shown, and they are discussed at various points in the story, the actresses did not appear in any scenes in the released film. According to a January 23, 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item, the original running time of the film was 137 minutes, but reviews list the length at either 130 or 125 minutes, the approximate length of the print viewed.
"Fascination," the film's main theme, was based on a European waltz, according to various contemporary sources. Although it was not sung in the picture, composer Matty Malnick wrote words for it, as well as the film's gypsy melody, "Hot Paprika." "Fascination" subsequently became a popular song, recorded by Chevalier and many other artists. Another melody in the film, "C'est si bon," also became an international hit for various artists.
According to various news items, the National Catholic Legion of Decency had threatened to give the film a "C," or "Condemned," rating, then eventually granted it a "B" rating, indicating "morally objectionable in part," because of the addition of the final voice-over narration by Chevalier, which stated that the two lovers subsequently married. Other news items indicate that ads for the film, which featured the drawn shade motif used in the opening credits, implied an "illicit" afternoon tryst, thereby drawing objections from the industry's Advertising Code. Some ad copy was also deemed objectionable; however, the ads did appear in many contemporary source.
Love in the Afternoon marked Chevalier's first non-singing film role and his first appearance in an American film since the 1947 Franco-American co-production Man About Town (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). Chevalier, who had been one of the top stars of American musical films in the early 1930s, appeared in several singing and non-singing film roles following his appearance in Love in the Afternoon, both in the U.S. and France, until his death in 1972.
Love in the Afternoon marked the American feature film debut of character actor John McGiver (1912-1975). McGiver had previously appeared on Broadway, on television and in short films. He also had a small role in the French film L'Homme à l'imperméable (The Man with the Umbrella), which was made in Paris at approximately the same time as Love in the Afternoon, but was released in France earlier, in February 1957.
Several reviews mentioned the film's similarity to romantic comedies directed by Ernst Lubitsch, a director for whom Wilder had written several scripts in the 1930s, including the 1938 Paramount film Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40), which has some thematic similarities to Love in the Afternoon, and starred Gary Cooper in a role similar to that of Frank Flannagan. Although most reviews highly praised the comedy and the onscreen pairing of Cooper and Audrey Hepburn, many modern sources have commented negatively on the age difference between Hepburn and Cooper who, at the time of filming, were twenty-seven and fifty-five, respectively.
The film, which was director Billy Wilder's only production for Allied Artists, did not receive any Academy Award nominations, but Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond shared a WGA award for Best American Comedy. Love in the Afternoon was the first of many films co-written by Wilder and Diamond, who became lifelong friends, as well as writing and producing collaborators. Wilder also received a Best Director nomination from the DGA. As noted in a Hollywood Reporter news item, the film was re-released by Allied Artists in 1961 under the title Fascination. Within the story, among Flannagan's many business dealings, was his position as an executive of Pepsi-Cola. In 1961, Wilder made the main character of One, Two, Three, an executive of Coca-Cola (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70).
In 1931, Paul Czinner directed three adaptations of Claude Anet's novel Ariane, jeune fille russe, all of which were set, like the novel, in Moscow, but made in Germany: the German-language version, Ariane, starred Elisabeth Bergner and Rudolf Forster; the French-language version, Ariane, jeune fille russe, starred Gaby Morlay and Jean Dax; and the English-language version, The Loves of Ariane, also starred Bergner, with Percy Marmont.
Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1957 New York Times Film Critics.
Winner of the 1957 Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay--comedy.
Released in United States November 1972
Released in United States October 4, 1989
Released in United States Summer July 1957
Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival October 4, 1989.
Shot between August and December 1956.
Released in United States Summer July 1957
Released in United States October 4, 1989 (Shown at Vancouver International Film Festival October 4, 1989.)
Released in United States November 1972 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (The Billy Wilder Marathon) November 9-19, 1972.)