Love in the Afternoon
Tagline – It’s more likely in Paris and more LOVELY IN THE AFTERNOON!
Starring – Gary Cooper (Frank Flannagan), Audrey Hepburn (Ariane Chavasse), Maurice Chevalier (Claude Chavasse), John McGiver (Monsieur X).
Released – June, 1957
Directed By – Billy Wilder
Produced By – Billy Wilder Productions
Distributed By – Allied Artists Pictures
Description – In Paris, detective Claude Chavasse has been hired by the husband of a married woman suspected of carrying on an affair with American playboy Frank Flannagan. Sure enough, she had been seeing the American almost on a daily basis. Her husband’s anger boils over and he tells the detective he will kill Flannagan.
Overhearing the conversation is the detective’s daughter Ariane. Unable to get help from the police until an actual crime has been committed, Ariane finds Frank to tell him herself. She is just in the nick of time. As the irate husband breaks into Frank’s room he finds the playboy with Ariane and not his wife who has just slipped out the window.
Flannagan is intrigued by the young woman who has warned him, but does not even know her name. She is also intrigued by the older playboy and decides to make herself appealing to him by playing the role of a “femme fatale.”
Flannagan’s interest is aroused and the two meet the next day and spend the night together before he boards a plane to leave Paris. She has now fallen in love with the older man.
A year later, Frank returns to Paris and the two meet again by chance at an opera and resume their affair. She continues with the experienced woman charade and Frank is not sure if he believes her or not.
Later Frank encounters the previously outraged husband who had burst into his room intent on killing him. They speak in a friendly fashion and Frank tells him about the mysterious Ariane. The husband suggests that Frank have her investigated and suggests detective Claude Chavasse.
It isn’t long before Chavasse realizes the mysterious woman is his own daughter. The age difference frightens him and he asks Frank to no longer see Ariane and to not break her heart. However, Frank has also fallen in love and, although he understands, doing this will not be easy.
A May – December romance has much going against it to begin with and Frank makes an excuse to again leave Paris. Is his the right decision, or is true love not measured by age?
NOTABLE: Initially, Love in the Afternoon was both a critical and commercial disaster. The general feeling was that Gary Cooper was too old and in ill health to have taken the role. In fact, Cary Grant had turned down the role due to his own age. However, as time passed the film’s popularity grew due to pure romanticism.
Audrey Hepburn made this film back-to-back with Funny Face.
Love in the Afternoon provided the screen debut for John McGiver.
Filming locations in Paris included the Château of Vitry in the Yvelines, the Palais Garnier (Paris Opera), and the Hôtel Ritz Paris.