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Released by Special Arrangement with Turner Classic Movies Music
Lili was a small and offbeat combination of genres—romance, comedy, musical and drama—that unexpectedly became one of the biggest hits of 1953. The film stars Leslie Caron as a homeless French orphan who joins a carnival and develops a unique relationship with an embittered puppeteer, Paul (Mel Ferrer), treating his puppets as living beings. The interaction between Lili and the puppets, and between Lili and Paul, is a unique treasure in motion picture history.
Lili was at one time considered almost unreleasable by M-G-M, but received a perfect score by Bronislau Kaper and song, "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo" (with lyrics by screenwriter Helen Deutsch) that became a pop sensation. A kind of carnival waltz, "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo" is the centerpiece of the film and score and an irresistable melody every bit as potent 50 years later. Bronislau Kaper considered Lili his favorite among his many film projects and the score deservedly won him an Academy Award.
In addition to the song, Kaper got to write two well-developed ballets for Lili (for fantasy dream sequences), blending a melodic and pop accessibility with symphonic classical development in an appropriately French style (recalling Debussy and Ravel). The balance of the score includes sensitive dramatic scoring as well as tuneful source cues for the carnival.
Lili was released on a four-track EP at the time of the film, but this CD marks the first release of the full score, including copious alternates and outtakes, in the best-possible monaural sound. Between the unforgettable song, delightful ballets, and pitch-perfect sense of mood and magic, Lili is a magnificent showpiece and a jewel in Bronislau Kaper's career.