Saturday, April 27, 2024

April in Paris (1952)

S. Wintrop Putnam made a terrible mistake. As Assistant Secretary to the Assistant to the Undersecretary of State, his task was to send an invitation to Ethel Barrymore asking her to visit Paris as a personal representative of the American theater at the International Festival of Arts. Instead, he addressed the invitation to Ethel "Dynamite" Jackson, a New York City chorus girl(!).

His faux-pas turns out to be "a stroke of genius!" and S.Wintrop (Ray Bolger) is sent to accompany the well-built Miss Jackson (Doris Day) on her ocean voyage to Paris - and naturally falls in love with her en route. 

April in Paris was one of the many comedy-musicals that Doris Day made in the early 1950s. It does not rank as one of her best, but it has its funny moments, especially during the shipboard scenes. Director David Butler, always a reliable professional, seems to have done his best with the material he had but the material he had was not substantial to begin with. Jack Rose's script needed more broader humor to support its thin plot or else a stronger - and sillier - leading man, such as Danny Kaye. 

As it is, the film feels like it was rushed into production and the script was hastily written while shooting began. Gay ooh-la-la Paree deserved better. 

French actor Claude Dauphin was given a large supporting role as a friend of both Ethel and Wintrop, but even this part needed a man with a more vibrant personality, like Fernandel. Fortunately, both Doris Day and Ray Bolger had plenty of opportunity to sing and dance and they were best in their numbers together. The "I'm Gonna Ring the Bell Tonight" performance is especially fun. Other songs included the titular "April in Paris" by Yip Harberg, and "That's What Makes Paris Paree", where Doris Day showed off one of the many beautiful Leah Rhodes costumes for the film.

The supporting cast of April in Paris included Eve Miller as Winthrop's betrothed, Paul Harvey and George Givot. 


  1. I'd like to see this just for the numbers you mentioned and the costumes!

    1. The film is entertaining enough, I only wish the script had a little more substance...and a little more of ooh-la-la Paris thrown in for good measure. :-)