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Un acte d'amour 1953
Description: An American soldier romances a pretty Parisian during the final days of Globe Fight II.
Released: 17 Dec 1953 Director: Anatole Litvak Writers: Alfred Hayes (novel), Irwin Shaw (screenplay) Actors: Kirk Douglas, Dany Robin, Gabrielle Dorziat, Barbara Laage Genres: Drama, War, Romance
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Un acte d'amour Reviews:

Act of Love (1953) is a bittersweet love storyline about the star-crossed relationship between a Globe Fight II GI and a young Parisian during the Allied liberation of Paris. KIRK DOUGLAS plays Robert Teller, an Units PFC who, while stationed in France toward the end of Globe Fight II, meets and falls in love with a destitute French woman, Lise Gudayec (DANY ROBIN). When Teller seeks permission to marry Lise, his condescending commanding officer (GEORGE MATHEWS) has Teller transferred because he considers the young girl to be an opportunist. The transfer has tragic consequences. The film's ending is highly emotional when Teller visits the tiny French Riviera hotel that Lise said him about. At the hotel he has a bitter encounter with his former commanding officer. And it is in one of the hotel rooms that Teller, while recalling the descriptive words of Lise, totally realizes how truly pretty was their brief love affair. Receive out the hankies for this ending. The movie marked the debut of French-born Robin in an English-speaking film. Robin, who began her career as a ballerina with the Paris Opera, made her screen debut in 1946 at the age of 19 in the French movie Les Portes de la Nuit (Gates of the Night). Filmed in Paris and on the French Riviera, Act of Love was one of three movies that Douglas made abroad during 1952 and '53. The another two were The Juggler (1953), which was filmed in Israel, and Ulysses (1954), which was filmed in Italy. During the three-picture, near-two-year filming schedule, Douglas spent a total of just one month in the United States.Act of Love also marked the first appearance in an English-speaking movie by BRIGITTE BARDOT, who would subsequently gain fame with her pouting nice looks and curvaceous figure as France's "sex kitten." In Act of Love, Bardot portrays Mimi, a mate of Lise. Act of Love was based on the 1949 novel The Woman on the Via Flaminia by ALFRED HAYES. The film's screenplay was by German writer Joseph KESSEL and American novelist-screenwriter IRWIN SHAW. Shaw's another well-known movie credits included Fire Down Below (1957) and The Young Lions (1958). Kessel also wrote the French dialogue for the ver released in France, titled Un acte d'amour. For the record: Robin retired from film-making in 1969, after completing the ALFRED HITCHCOCK spy thriller Topaz. She and her husband, British producer MICHAEL SULLIVAN, died in a fire in 1995. She was 68. Robin was known for her dislike of journalists even during the height of her career. Because of this, journalists in 1953 and '54 presented her with the annual Lemon Prize, which is given to the nastiest French actress.


I discovered this one on French Tv yesterday as the last of a series of Anatole Litvak films. I've probably been over-generous by giving it a 9 but admit to having some strange criteria for my annotations. It is an American movie made on zone in the town of Paris ( as opposed to being made in a studio ). And this is the Paris of the golden romantic age of the 1950's, not the ugly one of today - there's no comparison between the two. In addition to this we have lavish helpings of accordion testing Michel Emer's "Le Disque Usé" ( Tant qu'il y a la vie, il y a de l'espoir ....), a pretty song made popular by Edith Piaf many years ago and indeed hard to search on CD in an ordinary instrumental version...as they tell in French .."quand j'entends cet air, je craque ....." ! Other unexpected jewel in the movie was a glimpse, albeit short, of my favorite zone of Paris - old Belleville and the Rue Vilin Staircase. Whilst most of the movie is made in central Paris with views of the Seine etc, at one stage, Kirk Douglas is hiding out from the units authorities down a staircase. This is the popular "Escalier de la Rue Vilin" and there are different views from top and bottom of this staircase. It is exactly the same zone as is used in the movie 'The Red Balloon", "Les Jeux Dangereux", "Casque d'Or", " Du Rififi chez Les Hommes " and "Le Doulos". I have a ebook all about this zone and apparently other American movie was made there named "Gigot, clochard de Bellville" made by Gene Kelly and starring Jackie Gleeson as a mute. As you may imagine, there's more possibility of an elephant passing through the eye of a needle than of finding that movie anywhere in the world. To return to Act of Love, this is a sort of French "Waterloo Bridge", it begins out in Villefranche Sur Mer on the Côte D'Azur and flashes back to Paris in 1945. The same Michel Emer tune is heard both actually and then. Kirk Douglas, as handsome as ever, wishes to stay in one particular room in a hotel, and a flashback indicates why. It is the same technique as in Waterloo Bridge with Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh. At the same time he meets other American tourist who seems to recognize him by who he himself does not recognize. The flashback supports us on this one too. At the end of the film, all fits into zone but you have that same sickening and lugubrious feeling you had at the end of Waterloo Bridge. Plot-wise, the movie is a tiny slow to receive off the ground, and the love affair between Kirk Douglas and Dany RObin takes time to gather steal. That is my principal criticism. Also we see Serge Reggiani in a very aggressive role which annoyed me no end ! I didn't like the boy at the greatest of times but in this movie he was frankly a pain in the neck ! No doubt the movie is unavailable anywhere on DVD - but I am at least glad to have a taped copy and will hold an eye out for any future issue. Missed "rendez-vous", be they in Act of Love, Waterloo Bridge or even Charles Boyer's "Back Street" are very hard for me to bear whilst watching a movie and leave an everlasting and indelible memory within me. The movie is definitely to be suggested for nostalgics of old Paris, Kirk Douglas fans, and rare gems from the 1950's.


A low-key movie with a fine cast. Unfortunately, it's so low-key as to seem nearly aimless for the first half. The pace and interest do pick up, however, toward the end.As Globe fight II grinds slowly to a halt in Europe, an innocent French woman on the brink of prostitution and a cynical but lonely GI fall in love in the Town of Lights - where, due to the war, the lights don't everytime work, A flaw, at least as the movie plays on television, is that the French accents are sometimes difficult to understand. And there are plenty of them.Though ten years too old for the role, not unusual for actors in fight films before the '70s, Douglas turns in a solid performance as Pfc. Teller, the wounded American soldier actually stationed at an units headquarters in Paris. But it is the lovely Dany Robin, rarely seen in America, who deserves most of the acting credit for keeping the rather unfocused storyline interesting. Fernand Ledoux is adequately brooding and resentful. The eighteen-year-old Brigitte Bardot is already beautiful, but look sharp or you may miss her.The true scene-stealer here, though, is the slinky Barbara Laage, who shows herself to be a fine actress in very nearly her only American film. Too terrible she breezes out of the picture a third of the method through.The on-location shots of Paris are also a plus in a movie that sometimes flirts dangerously with soap opera. Not a classic or even a forgotten classic, but worth your time if bittersweet love is your cup of tea.



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