"Lili" Is Released

Lili (1953) is an American film.

An MGM release, it stars Leslie Caron as a touchingly naïve French girl, whose emotional relationship with a carnival puppeteer is conducted through the medium of four puppets. The screenplay by Helen Deutsch was adapted from "The Man Who Hated People," a short story by Paul Gallico which appeared in the October 28, 1950 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Following the film's success, Gallico expanded his story into a 1954 novella entitled The Love of Seven Dolls.

Based on the story by Paul Gallico, Lili stars Leslie Caron as the title character, a 16-year-old waif who runs off to join a carnival. Embittered, crippled puppeteer Mel Ferrer treats Lili with contempt; only by speaking through his puppets is Ferrer able to express his genuine love for the girl. Before this happens, however, Caron must overcome her crush on magician Jean-Pierre Aumont, who is married to the contentious Zsa Zsa Gabor. Though not a musical (as was Carnival, the 1961 Broadway version of Lili), the film affords Leslie Caron the opportunity for a dream ballet, and also accommodates the lilting Bronislaw Kaper/Adolph Deutsch hit song "Hi Lili, Hi Lo". Legend has it that professional curmudgeon H.L. Mencken, who considered movies a waste of time and never bothered to see them, was persuaded to attend a showing of Lili--and loved every minute of it! ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide