So Long at the Fair (1950)

“Of course you don’t believe me. Nobody does! But I shall go on searching until I find him, do you hear me?”

So Long at the Fair Poster

Synopsis:
A young British woman (Jean Simmons) attends the 1889 Paris Exposition with her brother (David Tomlinson), only to find him mysteriously missing the morning after their arrival. When the hotel staff insists that neither her brother nor his hotel room ever existed, Simmons must investigate the mystery on her own, with the assistance of a helpful young stranger (Dirk Bogarde).

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
This “very enjoyable and suspenseful” historical thriller — based on an urban legend, or perhaps a true story — is well-acted (particularly by “sweet, pretty Simmons and handsome Bogarde”, who “make an appealing romantic team”), genuinely gripping, and possesses a “clever, satisfying conclusion.” As Peary notes, Alfred Hitchcock “admired the film”, and fans of his thrillers — especially his similarly themed The Lady Vanishes — will undoubtedly enjoy it as well. It absolutely deserves a DVD release.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Jean Simmons as Vicky Barton
    So Long at the Fair Simmons
  • Dirk Bogarde as George Hathaway
    Bogarde Simmons
  • Cathleen Nesbitt as the duplicitous hotel manager
    Nesbitt
  • A highly suspenseful story of “gaslighting”
    Gaslighting
  • Effective period sets and costumes
    Sets

Must See?
Yes. This one is definitely worth seeking out.

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2 Responses to “So Long at the Fair (1950)”

  1. This is a wonderful film. The mystery is even more “impossible” than in “The Lady Vanishes”, and yet the conclusion is totally satisfying.

  2. Yes, a must – in complete agreement with you: this needs to be restored and made available on DVD. A thoroughly satisfying experience, a gem! And the less one knows about it before seeing it, the better. It’s intricately laid out – and, although you may catch on to a thing or two early on if you’re paying close attention, there’s plenty to perplex and the resolution is almost certain to surprise. (In fact, once the primary mystery was ‘solved’, I had a suspicion that the actual conclusion might not live up to what preceded it. Was my face red!) Two elements are of particular note: the music in the first half-hour, which insists on being lilting – almost as if hesitant to admit the film is a mystery; and the work of several supporting cast members (my favorite is the fastidious gentleman who tries to prevent Jean Simmons from seeing the British Consul). Simmons and Dirk Bogarde are indeed refreshing together – that kind of ‘couple’ is always interesting, the ones in the situation of privately thinking, “Yes, I do find you attractive…but there is this mystery to solve.”

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