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Little Boy Lost

(1953 b 95')

En: 5 Ed: 6

A reporter gets married and has a child in Paris but has to leave in 1940. He learns his wife was killed, and he goes back to try to locate his son at an orphanage.

         Reporter Bill Wainwright (Bing Crosby) is on a plane and remembers being assigned to Paris in 1938. He is entranced by singer Lisa Garret (Nicole Maurey) and goes to a party where she sings “Dark Town Strutter’s Ball” with him. They spend time together and get married. When the war begins in 1939, he starts wearing a French uniform.

         Lisa has a baby boy. Bill learns that Germany has invaded Holland, and he tries to get Lisa out of the country. Bill leaves on an assignment to northern France, and he ends up in a hospital in England. Bill could not get back into Nazi-occupied France. He hears her singing on the radio. Bill says that she has friends in the resistance. Bill reports from London that radio Paris went dead. Bill went back to Paris with French troops in 1944, and he learned that Lisa had been shot by the Gestapo.

         Bill wakes up on the plane and lands in Paris. Bill and Pierre Verdier (Claude Dauphin) try to find his son and call on Madame Quilleboeuf (Georgette Anys), who smuggled babies out of Paris. She says she did not know their names. Bill goes to an orphanage and meets Nelly (Colette Deréal) at a hotel. Mother Superior (Gabrielle Dorziat) says she used his blood type and eye color to try to find the boy. She lets him meet Jean (Christian Fourcade), and they go for a walk. Bill buys him a bun to eat. Jean says he never heard the name Lisa before. Bill sings “If It’s All the Same to You, It’s All the Same to Me.” Mother Superior suggests that Bill take Jean to the old neighborhood.

         They take a train to Paris. Jean does not know when his birthday is. Bill gives him a gift, but the gloves are too small. Pierre meets them at the station. While Jean is in a bath, Bill and Pierre talk. Bill says he made up a nursery-rhyme song. They sing French songs with Jean. Bill sings the nursery rhyme, but Jean says he never heard it. Paul leaves, and Jean goes to bed.

         The next day Bill takes Jean to Madame Quilleboeuf, and Paul comes in. In a shop Jean remembers an odor, and Bill is hopeful. They go to a zoo. In a little boat Bill sings “That Magic Window” about literature. They go to the old apartment. Jean says he remembers a bicycle shop. Bill goes out and tells Madame Quilleboeuf that the bicycle shop has been there only for six months. She admits that she told Jean to remember things so that he would have a better life. Bill goes back to the flat and asks Jean to go to the bathroom, but he opens the closet door.

         Bill tells Mother Superior that he wants to find his own child, not adopt someone else’s. She urges him to adopt Jean. She says how hard it was during the war. Bill offers to find parents for Jean, but she says he is not for export.

         Bill walks alone and stops for a drink. Nelly joins him; they talk and plan to meet at the train. She asks him to win a prize for her, and he wins a doggy doll like one he used to have. At his hotel room Paul learns that Bill is going back to Paris with Nelly. Paul accuses Bill of lying to himself and him. He says Lisa would despise him for not living now. Paul tells Bill how Lisa was killed after being interrogated. Paul leaves, and Bill writes a note.

         Paul sees Bill enter the train station. Bill ignores Nelly and hears Jean’s voice in his mind. Mother Superior reads a note and gives Jean the dog doll. Bill comes in and offers to take Jean to the circus.

         In this drama a man wrestles with his grief and hopes to find his child. He learns that he must leave the past behind and learn to live in the present. Surely such challenges were faced by many after all the deaths in World War II.

Copyright © 2009 by Sanderson Beck

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