Liliom (1934) - Rotten Tomatoes

Liliom (1934)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

+Liliom, Ferenc Molnar's bittersweet fantasy play, was first filmed in Hollywood in 1930, with Charles Farrell as ne'er-do-well carnival barker Liliom and Rose Hobart as his long-suffering wife Julie. While that version is not available for public viewing, the 1935 French-language version directed by Fritz Lang and starring Charles Boyer is currently being offered by several home-video warehouses--albeit in an undubbed, unsubtitled print. Boyer plays Liliom, who runs the carousel at a Budapest amusement park. He impulsively quits his job when he falls in love with mill-worker Julie (Madeleine Ozeray). A terrible husband and provider, Liliom panics when he discovers he's about to become a father. He enters into a get-rich-quick robbery scheme with his unsavory pal Alfred (Alcover), but the plan goes awry. Rather than allow himself to be arrested, Liliom kills himself, whereupon his soul is transported via an art-deco express train to the waiting room of Heaven. A celestial judge determines that Liliom will not get his wings until he returns to earth to do one good deed. Liliom materializes before his now-teenaged daughter, and tries to give her a star that he's stolen from heaven; when she panics, he impulsively slaps her. Considering himself a failure, Liliom wearily heads for Purgatory, but a coda shows that his visit has done a world of good for both his widow and his daughter. Liliom was later musicalized by Rodgers & Hammerstein as Carousel.

Cast

Charles Boyer
as Liliom Zadowski
Robert Arnoux
as Strong Arm
Raoul Marco
as Detective
Antonin Artaud
as Knife Grinder
Odette Florelle
as Mme. Muskat
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Critic Reviews for Liliom

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1)

M. Boyer enjoys excellent support in Mile. Ozeray.

October 28, 2014 | Full Review…

Fantastic elements are well-handled by the normally ice-cold realist Lang.

October 28, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A lovely addition to the Lang filmography. It reveals a less harsh, less paranoid filmmaker.

February 24, 2012 | Full Review…

Boyer makes for a fine lovable louse, giving the film gusto.

March 4, 2007 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

A major work, a masterpiece.

February 8, 2007 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

It's both better than its earlier reputation, which was based on the cut version, and yet still disappointing in some ways.

July 19, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Liliom

½

Director Fritz Lang draws us in immediately with a beautiful opening credit sequence which segues to a boisterous Charles Boyer in the role of Liliom, a carousel barker at a carnival. Liliom flirts with the ladies and plays to the crowd, and we find ourselves charmed. It wears off as he begins putting the moves on a beguiled young woman (Madeleine Ozeray), because it turns out he's quite a rake. He begins living off her and abusing her besides, in one scene slapping her, and in others alluding to beating her. I won't say more about the plot, except to say it takes a very interesting turn when he reluctantly agrees to commit a crime with his low-life buddy (Pierre Alcover). Lang is very creative in this film, keeping us offbase as to where the film is going and capturing nice shots with reflections and shadows. At one point Boyer is mired in bureaucracy waiting for a form to be stamped, which is a comical moment. I had the film scored a little higher, but it dropped a little for me in just how light it got as it played out. The film was set up for much more interesting moments, and it seemed like a blown opportunity when it got silly. I was also not a fan of one of the film's messages, that out of love in a relationship "someone can beat you, and beat you, without hurting you at all." Watch this one for the unique role Boyer plays (apparently one of the actor's favorites), and to see Fritz Lang's only French film, made shortly after he left Germany.

Antonius Block
Antonius Block

Super Reviewer

Liliom Quotes

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