Romanoff and Juliet is a small film with modest pleasures. Perhaps its undeniable charm is a bit too mild for many people, but for those who appreciate a clever film that delicately blends both romance and satire will find Romanoff quite winning. It has its faults, to be sure. For example, its pacing is sometimes a bit off, and while it has definitely been opened up for the big screen, there are moments when its stage origins are unmistakable. And while Peter Ustinov certainly knows how to direct his actors, he's not always the most cinematic of directors, even with the excellent Robert Krasker on photographic duty. Romanoff's brand of satire is also not to everyone's taste, being of a fairly gentle nature rather than scathing in tone. But for many, these defects are secondary to the witty dialogue, the carefully set up situations, the shrewd observations, and the skillful plotting. Then there's the cast, lead by the wonderful Ustinov himself but also featuring a surprisingly strong performance from Sandra Dee, a surprisingly decent one from John Gavin, and a scene-stealing one from Suzanne Cloutier. Ultimately, Romanoff's blemishes keep it from being a great film, but it's still a joyous one.
by Craig Butler review