From the Chicago Reader (September 14, 2007). — J.R.
Released in 1953, this glitzy, entertaining MGM art movie is fascinating partly because it testifies to the influence of patriarchal French existentialism on American pop culture. Gottfried Reinhardt (son of Berlin stage director Max Reinhardt) directed the first of its three episodes, about a ballet dancer with a heart condition (Moira Shearer) who’s driven to the breaking point by an enthusiastic choreographer (James Mason), and the third, a suspenseful tale about Parisian trapeze artists (Kirk Douglas and Pier Angeli) who learn to commit to one another in a post-Holocaust context by taking inordinate risks. But the best episode is Vincente Minnelli’s fantasy about a disgruntled boy in Venice (Ricky Nelson) who, with the help of an American witch (Ethel Barrymore), becomes a grown man (Farley Granger) long enough to date his French nanny (Leslie Caron). 122 min. (JR)