April in Paris (1952)
A Day Trip to Paris
It's no use, Philippe. I'm in love with the man I married. And he's not even my husband! - Dynamite Jackson
href="../../reviews/calamity-jane/calamity-jane.html" title="Calamity Jane movie review">Calamity Jane", shame I can't say they same about "April in Paris" which was released the previous year. "April in Paris" is sadly almost a throw away movie which has a wafer thin storyline that tries to be amusing but fails relying on the pulling power of Doris Day, Ray Bolger and also Claude Dauphin to try and carry it. It doesn't succeed and despite various song and dance scenes "April in Paris" ends up one of the more forgettable of Doris Day's movies.
After a mix up at some government offices, chorus girl Miss Ethel 'Dynamite' Jackson (Doris Day – On Moonlight Bay) is mistakenly invited to represent the United States at the International Festival of Arts in Paris. S. Winthrop Putnam (Ray Bolger – The Wizard of Oz), the Assistant to the Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Secretary of the United States, who made the mistake, tries to correct it but it's too late and Miss Jackson is heading off on the ship to Paris. But Miss Jackson's shapely figure and fun attitude makes the poh faced Putnam fall for her except he is already engaged to marry his bosses daughter.
Part of the issue is that even for a musical the storyline behind "April in Paris" is pure farce. A mix up over names leads to a chorus girl being sent on a diplomatic mission to France where she ends up falling for the poh faced Assistant to the Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Secretary of the United States which of course means complications as he is engaged to the daughter of the Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Secretary of the United States. It's to say the least daft and ultra thin with the popping up of French charmer Philippe Fouquet to try and blend it all together. It for the most doesn't work causing it to fall into the territory of a musical which trades on those musical scenes rather than a storyline which is engaging or interesting.
As for those musical, song and dance scenes well some are good, some not so as they border on the banal with the witty ditties that the songs are built around. The trouble is that there are few really memorable musical scenes to make "April in Paris" work with the song and dance by Ray Bolger as he dreams of being President as well as the hugely entertaining routine in the kitchen being about the only two slightly memorable scenes in a movie which tries hard to entertain but rarely succeeds.
Now I like Doris Day and as ever she holds her own through out the movie with her great voice and soft but feisty characterisation which was often her trademark in many a movie but the chemistry with Ray Bolger is non existent. They seem two separate entities with Bolger trying to steal the limelight from Day which he nearly achieves. Separately they are good and Bolger really excels when he delivers the comic dance routine in the government building, but together it is weak, lifeless and monotonous especially the hugely repetitive joke about the rooms on the ship.
What does work though is Claude Dauphin as stereotypical Frenchman Philippe Fouquet whose regular interjections help to give "April in Paris" a bit of charm. In fact there seems to be more chemistry between Day and Dauphin than Day and Bolger.
What this all boils down to is that "April in Paris" is quite a weak musical. It lacks the satisfactory storyline to fill in between all the song and dance scenes, which in themselves are not that memorable. It has its moments and there are a couple of entertaining musical scenes, but with Ray Bolger seeming to try and outdo Doris Day it lacks that chemistry, that spark of romantic fun to really make you want to watch.
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