Why Found-Again? If you’re familiar with both American Dreamer and this site, you’ll have noticed that it hits all the benchmarks—mystery, romance, bookish heroine, interesting setting, spy crap—necessary to have been part of my formative movie-watching years. And it is so.
The Premise: Housewife Cathy Palmer is in a rut, so she enters (and wins) a writing contest sponsored by her favorite spy novels. After a blow to the head during a tour of Paris, Cathy thinks she is fictional superspy Rebecca Ryan, and it’s up to the books’ real author (Tom Conti) to stop her from running amok.
He fails miserably, of course, because she thinks he’s Rebecca’s sidekick: what self-respecting spy listens to her sidekick?
The movie’s opening homage to 1963’s Charade lets you know exactly what you’re in for. American Dreamer is a kind of movie that doesn’t seem to be made anymore, elegant and articulate and completely bonkers. “Someone gets hit on the head and thinks they’re a superhero” is a cartoon plot, not a movie where important things happen at the ambassador’s ball—and yet here we are. Supporting actors include the excellent Coral Browne and Giancarlo Giannini, and there are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments along with the beautiful shots of Paris.
The Verdict: I’d thought the passage of time might have made me too cynical for this movie. At its heart it’s a fairy tale, a seductive story that murmurs that, as George Eliot wrote, “it is never too late to be who you might have been.” But who among us doesn’t need to hear that from time to time?
Might go well with: Champagne, French food, Hitchcock movies, Roger Moore Bond films.
The trailer gives away the bad guy (did all the trailers of my youth suck this much and I never noticed until 2015?), so have this instead:
Next time: More time with Duncan MacLeod of some clan or other.