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Years ago I thought I was familiar with all of Billy Wilder's movies
and as I thumbed through what might have been an old copy of Playboy,
perhaps a Sex in the Cinema article, I came across a picture of a nude
Juliet Mills and Jack Lemmon sitting on the rocks in an unknown Billy
Wilder film, and was determined to one day see that film and much more
of the Nanny from The Nanny and the Professor. VCRs were just coming on
the market, so I had to wait a few years till Cinemax showed it in the
early morning. I stayed up most of the night to satisfy my prurient
interest and what I ended up with was a film I didn't want to end, a
tune that played over and over again in my head for days, and one of my
most favorite movies.
Yes, this movie is a comedy, sometimes a very black comedy, and
sometimes a satire filled with irony. Yes, it's a romance, all about a
wonderful romance that sparks up between two seemingly opposite people
in the strangest of places at the strangest of times under the
strangest of circumstances, the way romance quite often does. And at
times there's sadness and pain to tug at your heart. It's all about
discovering who you really are when you've lost your way in all life's
confusion, and also about perhaps being better than your parents when
you get older and more like them.
Lemmon is the consummate cad, Juliet Mills the most charming
Englishwoman to grace a celluloid comedy, Clive Revill is perfect in
his most Oscar-deserving role as the hotel manager Carlo Carlucci, the
Italian cast members never fail to entertain, and the music is as
catchy and memorable as any Bernstein or Tiomkin or Goldsmith score.
The movie may be 2-1/2 hours long, but the time passes quickly as
Lemmon and Mills rediscover love and youth and passion, and I always
find myself wishing that I could see the two lovers returning a year
later like their parents.
Billy Wilder may have given us dramatic gems like Stalag 17, Double
Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, and Sunset Boulevard, given us comedic
gems like Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot, and romantic gems like
The Apartment and Irma La Douce, but it wasn't till the end of his
career that he could take qualities from all of those and give them a
magical, lyrical feel and atmosphere and come up with a jewel like
Tags for Avanti! Full Movie
, Edward Andrews
, Jack Lemmon
, Juliet Mills
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