Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Lili (1953)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Lili (1953)

In Charles Waters' romantic and enchanting fantasy-musical drama, noted for becoming the first film ever to be adapted into a Broadway musical - in 1961, named Carnival:

  • the scenes of sad and lonely sixteen year-old carnival waitress Lili (Leslie Caron), a naive orphaned French girl, talking and singing to the puppets of the carnival's puppeteer Paul Berthalet (Mel Ferrer) as if they were real people
  • the four puppets, all of Lili's friends: red-haired Carrot Top, foxy and sly Reynardo, vain ballerina Marguerite, and cowardly giant Golo
  • the famous "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo" scene, in which the catchy title song tune was sung by Lili with Carrot Top and accompanied with an accordian: ("On every tree there sits a bird singing a song of love, on every tree there sits a bird and every one I ever heard could break my heart without a word singing a song of love -- A song of love is a sad song, Hi-li Hi-lili Hi-lo, A song of love is a song of woe, Don't ask me how I know, A song of love is a sad song, For I have loved and it's so, Hi-lili Hi-lili Hi-lo Hi-lo Hi-lili Hi-lili Hi-lo, Hi-lili Hi-lili Hi-lo Hi-lo Hi-lili Hi-lili - Hi-lo!")
  • the revelation that the crippled and embittered Paul was the voice of the puppets, when Lili pulled away the curtain on the puppet stage; he told her -- "Well, are you staying or going? We've had an offer from the Folies Paris, but we can't accept it without you"; she told him: ("I've been an idiot, a stupid fool, melting and sniveling over Reynaldo and Carrot Top. I must be crazy, but they've become so very dear to me, I forget. I forget every time that it's only you, or is it you? Is it? Wh-what are you? Are you just a monster without any feelings? Why can't you ever say a kind word? Why do you hide behind those puppets?"); he yelled back that the puppets reflected his own personality, but it was only "business": ("I am the puppets! I'm Carrot Top: confident, clever, capable of running his life and yours, and everybody else's; and I'm Golo the Giant: cowardly, stupid, longing to be loved, clumsy and in need of comforting; and I'm Marguerite, too: vain, jealous, obsessed with self, looking at my face in the mirror. Are my teeth nice? Is my hair growing thin? And I'm Reynaldo: the thief, the opportunist, full of compromise and lies like any other man. I have in me all these things. All of these and as many more again. Must I make a new puppet for the small part of me you've managed to see? The monster? The angry man? The frustrated dancer, clumping along with a leg anchored to the ground, and a heart anchored to - but you don't have to understand me or even like me. This is business"); she replied: ("Not any more")
  • the creative sequence, when Lili walked out of town with her suitcase, to leave the carnival for good, and then imagined that she was dancing with life-sized living versions of the four puppets - and as she danced, each one turned into Paul, backed away and returned to town; after her last dance with Golo, the two showered each other with kisses and embraced; Lili came to her senses and fully realized that Paul was voicing his own affection for her through the puppets, and she raced back to town and ran into Paul's arms for a passionate kiss
Lili Dancing With Each of Puppets/Paul
  • the last image of the four puppets watching around the corner, and applauding the restored and reconciled romance between Lili and Paul

"Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo"

Lili with Puppets: Carrot Top, and Marguerite

Puppeteer Paul Berthalet

Life-Sized Versions of the Four Puppets

Puppets Watched as Paul and Lili Fell in Love


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