DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Richard Brooks
Elizabeth Taylor, Van Johnson, Donna Reed
Writing Credits:
Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Richard Brooks

An American journalist returns to Paris - a city that gave him true love and deep grief.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.75:1
English DTS—HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 7/25/2023

• “Touché Pussycat” Animated Short
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Last Time I Saw Paris [Blu-Ray] (1954)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 15, 2023)

Does it count as ironic that I screened 1954’s The Last Time I Saw Paris exactly a year to the day after I visited the French capital? Yeah, but at least this information offers a cheap and easy intro to my review of the film.

Taken from an F. Scott Fitzgerald story, US Army journalist Charles Wills (Van Johnson) covers the celebrations in Paris that greet the end of World War II. Out of nowhere, a beautiful woman kisses him but promptly disappears.

Charles does meet Marion Ellswirth (Donna Reed) and she invites him to a party at her father James’ (Walter Pidgeon) home. There he learns the mystery woman was Marion’s younger sister Helen (Elizabeth Taylor), and this ignites a romantic triangle among Charles and the two siblings.

Given that synopsis, one might expect Paris to offer a weepy melodrama. Does this assumption prove correct?

Pretty much. Unfortunately, it lacks substance and rarely makes a lick of sense.

38 at the time, Johnson looks closer to 50, and he seems like a perplexing match for then-22-year-old Taylor. Perhaps if Johnson appeared more dashing, we might buy this, but he seems dumpy and plain.

Does the film ever explain why Helen falls for Charles? Not in the least.

Indeed, Paris tends to paint Helen as a bit of a gold-digger, someone out for a life filled with riches. Though James maintains the air of wealth, we find he lacks more than basic funds, and this appears to motivate Helen to pursue a path toward millions.

So why does Helen latch onto Charles, a journalist for the US Army? In what way does he seem like a route toward a cushy life?

He doesn’t, and Paris doesn’t compensate with other reasons to make Helen smitten with Charles. He doesn’t appear to offer a practical option, and although the film theoretically matches the pair as Helen’s attempt to spite her sister, this never develops.

Indeed, my synopsis probably oversells the potential love triangle. This acts as a minor theme in the first act but then it dissipates, and we barely see Marion the rest of the way.

In another avenue left unexplored, Paris flirts with a portrait of Helen as a free spirit whose hedonistic ways frustrate Charles. However, like the aforementioned love triangle, this theme also goes nowhere.

Indeed, Helen seems shockingly loyal to the whiny, petulant Charles. While we should bond with him, Charles comes across as such a jerk that we never connect to him.

It also seems illogical that Charles would toy with affairs. Who in their right mind cheats on Elizabeth Taylor?

Okay, I know that men will conduct affairs even when paired with beautiful partners. After all, Hugh Grant went astray from Elizabeth Hurley, and women get no hotter than her.

Nonetheless, Paris fails to explore this notion, which seems par for the course. The movie leaves none of its themes or characters well-developed, so I shouldn’t expect any of its subdomains to work.

I do like Pidgeon’s amusing performance as the louche James, and a relatively young Roger Moore in a relatively early role.

Otherwise I find little to offer from this turgid melodrama. Paris runs too long for its thin story and tiresome characters.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

The Last Time I Saw Paris appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.75:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Maybe someday Warner Archive will drop the ball with one of their Technicolor releases, but Paris didn’t greet that day.

The film came with appealing delineation. Virtually no signs of softness popped up here, so we got a precise production.

The movie lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, and I witnessed no edge haloes. Grain felt light but appropriate, and print flaws failed to manifest.

As expected, the Technicolor image became well-rendered. Granted, I’ve seen more dynamic palettes from Technicolor flicks, but an “in your face” set of hues wouldn’t make sense for this story, so the colors satisfied.

Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows felt smooth and clear. This wound up as a terrific image.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA monaural audio, it actually blossomed to stereo for the opening credits. The score that accompanied the text showed nice dual-channel presence.

This led me to believe the rest of the movie would boast stereo material as well. However, Paris went monaural for the remainder of its tale.

Audio quality worked fine given the vintage of the material. This meant speech that felt a bit stiff but that nonetheless gave us positive intelligibility and a lack of edginess.

Music appeared acceptably bright, and effects came across as reasonably accurate, albeit without much range. This turned into a perfectly appropriate track for a nearly 70-year-old movie.

Along with the movie’s trailer, we get a circa 1954 Tom and Jerry short called Touché Pussycat. It runs six minutes, 42 seconds.

Apparently a sequel to 1952’s Two Mouseketeers, this one features Jerry as he trains a young recruit to act as part of the royal guard. Like its predecessor, it proves more cute than funny, but it still comes with some charms.

As a relationship drama, The Last Time I Saw Paris never digs into its characters well. The story lacks motivation and fails to develop into anything compelling. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals, appropriate audio and minor bonus materials. A good cast gets wasted in this sluggish tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main