Synopsis by Mark Deming
Julie Andrews made a bid to change her squeaky clean image with this elaborately mounted World War I musical. Lili Smith (Andrews) is a popular British music hall singer who is regarded as a femme fatale and has been known to throw a bit of striptease into her act. However, Lili has a secret: she's actually a German spy, and the uncle she dotes upon is really Von Ruger (Jeremy Kemp), a fellow espionage agent and her contact for the Huns. In hopes of gaining valuable information, Lili begins using her feminine wiles on Maj. William Larrabee (Rock Hudson), a top American pilot. However, Lili soon discovers that she's falling in love with Larrabee and can't find the courage to betray him; Larrabee discovers Lili's secret, but he refuses to turn her in. Darling Lili was a notorious box-office disappointment, grossing a mere $5 million on a budget that rose to $25 million due to a variety of production mishaps. Director Blake Edwards (Andrews' husband) was stung by the poor reception, and he later trimmed the 136-minute film to 114 minutes, downplaying its comic elements in favor of a more serious tone.
deception, German [nationality], secrets, spy, espionage, love, pilot, singer, betrayal, commander, music-hall, romance, officer, war, dogfight [airplanes]
High Production Values