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Paramount Studios presents
"I love Paris. It's so insincere."
DVD ReviewThey may not quite be our Lunt and Fontanne, but Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward are one of the great Hollywood couples, both on and off screen, and getting to see the two of them together is just about the only persuasive reason to watch this movie. A New Kind of Love is smarmy and sweaty, a movie loaded with sexual innuendo but lacking any deftness of touch; Newman and Woodward elevate whatever they're in, and so this is passably and intermittently entertaining, at very best.
Woodward plays Samantha Blake, tomboy knockoff fashion designer; with pencils stuck every which way in her short hair, she covertly brings her sketch book to the department store windows on Madison Avenue, and hurriedly but skillfully designs knockoffs, which her boss, Mr. Bergner (Joe Tobias), produces at a fraction of the cost of the original. Bergner decides to take his closest associates to Paris for some more sartorial inspiration, and on the flight over Samantha knocks heads with Steve (Newman), a newspaper columnist, doing penance for sleeping with the boss's wife: he's being relocated from Los Angeles to the Paris bureau. (Some punishment, and a measure of the authenticity, or lack thereof, of the screenplay.) Surprise: they take an instant dislike to one another. We're waiting for them to get together, or for sparks to fly between them, but it takes a long, long time for that to happen—the movie is more than halfway over before they encounter one another again in the City of Lights. There's something lecherous and leering about this movie, which thinks that it's better for Samantha to look like a floozy than a tomboy—Steve isn't buying it, and in truth, neither are we.
Better served are the supporting players: Thelma Ritter plays Leena, a designer in Bergner's employ who has long harbored a crush on the boss, but he's entranced by Felicienne, played in high style by Eva Gabor, who is a Parisian woman of the world with her claws sunk deep into the rich American. There's some mileage to be had here, but really, most of this movie feels forced and unconvincing, despite the best efforts of its talented cast. It's also loaded with all kinds of tacky and unattractive montages and matte shots, which certainly don't help in overcoming the lazy, dumb virgin/whore rescue fantasies suggested by writer-director Melville Shavelson's story.
Other than the names above the title, the best thing about the movie may be its music. The picture opens with Frank Sinatra singing the title song, and he's swinging; showing up as himself at a Parisian fashion show and singing a medley of his greatest hits is Maurice Chevalier; and a movie that ends with the USC fight song can't be all bad. Fight on!
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C
Image Transfer Review: Many scratches and bits of debris mar this transfer; it looks as if the original has badly faded and been neglected, anyway.
Image Transfer Grade: C+
Audio Transfer Review: Range is limited and there's some popping, but the dialogue is reasonably clear.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Extras Review: Only English-language subtitles.
Extras Grade: D-
Final CommentsJoanne Woodward and Paul Newman are always terrific, but this is far from being their finest hour. A groping and occasionally unpleasant romantic comedy.
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