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  • This is the story of a Parisian acting troupe during World War II that has to accommodate itself to the occupying force. As the story progresses, it is slowly revealed that the troupe's star (Leslie Caron) once had a love affair with the German officer who is expected to drop by (Mel Ferrar). I still remember as poignant the moment when the troupe's manager (Anthony Zerbe), who is also the star's lover, asks Caron to play along with Ferrar (whom Zerbe assumes is just another fan) for the sake of the theater--then realizes with quiet alarm that she has had a past relationship with Ferrar and is still in love with him. Zerbe's subtle reaction to this realization gets across that he always knew this day was coming--when his good fortune of being the lover of this beautiful, desirable woman would fizzle away--but that he's aghast to find that the day is today and that the other man is a Nazi officer. Zerbe is a standout in this TV play. I'd love to see it again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Carola" is from a story written by Jean Renoir. According to IMDb, he was set to direct this film for Public Television but fell ill and it had to be passed on to another director, the producer Norman Lloyd. Among its stars are Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer and it is a relatively low-budget film that looks a lot like a play--which I assume it was first.

    The story is set in a playhouse in occupied France during WWII. The boss of the theater wants his employees to be very nice to the German officer (Ferrer) who will be visiting them soon. That's because he has the authority to close the theater if he wants--and keeping him happy is extremely important. This causes a problem for Caron's character, Corolla, as she once had a romance with this man--and who knows what will happen when they meet again.

    To confuse matters, some Gestapo men are seen in the theater. They are tailing a young man--the same young man who idolizes Carola and suddenly shows up at her dressing room. He is apparently with the Free French and Carola and her maid hide him. Then, suddenly, the General arrives--and the Free Frenchman is actually hiding within the dressing room! After a while, the General spots the hiding man--and instead of arresting or shooting him, the two just sit and talk and talk...and talk. Later, inexplicably, the General even hides the man from the Gestapo!! WHY?!?! And, what happens next?! Despite being a fan of Caron and wanting to love this because it was written by the great Renoir, I couldn't help but think that occasionally the acting was a bit rough and the script was very talky. Perhaps this might work well on stage, but on film this and the lack of incidental music make for a film that is very static. In addition, I couldn't help but think that a German general hiding his enemy made no sense at all...none. To me, this was a noble effort, but one that ultimately failed to deliver the goods--despite Caron and Ferrer being quite good. It wasn't terrible but could have been so much better.

    By the way, as a retired history teacher, I couldn't help but notice many 1970s haircuts in the film. I wish they'd gotten the appropriate hair--it was such an easy thing to get correct.
  • boblipton16 December 2002
    Beautiful translation of Jean Renoir's script is hampered a bit by its stage confines and acting levels, but manages to be exciting nonetheless because of its situations. Leslie Caron manages to overcome the need to be heard in the back of the theater in the title role, but the other actors fail to overcome the limitations.