“There is no sincerity like a woman telling a lie.”
A successful actress (Ingrid Bergman) falls in love with an unhappily married diplomat (Cary Grant) who can’t divorce his wife; their passionate affair gets more complicated, however, when a disturbing secret is revealed.
Twelve years after they co-starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946), Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman reappeared as screen lovers in Stanley Donen’s adaptation of Norman Krasna’s short-lived Broadway play Kind Sir; unfortunately, while both Grant and Bergman still possess potent chemistry together, the material here isn’t quite worth their talents or energy. The entire first hour of the film is concerned simply with showing their romantic courtship and “steamy” affair, complete with a cleverly filmed split-screen bedroom sequence (which predates the more infamous split-screen “bathroom sequence” in Pillow Talk by a full year). This all turns out to be an elaborate build-up to a substantial plot twist (don’t read about the film online if you wish to remain surprised) — but viewers may well find themselves impatient long before this point, and wondering where exactly things are going; the pacing feels off. While the twist itself adds some much-needed energy and punch to the proceedings, it never registers as anything other than a narrative device; meanwhile, the stagy denouement is both rushed and unrealistic. With that said, the film itself is consistently gorgeous to look at, from Freddie Young’s vibrant cinematography to visually innovative set designs (check out the still below of Bergman’s living room!) to the array of fashionable Christian Dior outfits Bergman is attired in — so at the very least, it provides pleasant eye candy throughout.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Ingrid Bergman as Ann
- Cary Grant as Philip
- The innovative split-screen bedroom scene
- Excellent set designs
- Lovely Dior outfits
No, but it’s recommended for fans of Bergman and/or Grant.