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Amphibians in Movies
April Fools (1969)
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Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
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This is a silly romantic based on an extended metaphor that compares the fairy tale of the enchanted frog who needs a kiss from a princess to turn him back into a prince with the movie's lovers.

Jack Lemmon is Howard Brubaker who gets a promotion and a great new job. He goes to his boss's party where he meets Catherine (Catherine Deneuve) and falls in love with her in one night (not knowing she's his boss's wife.) As they pass the night at the castle of some ultra rich people, they find out that they are both unhappy with their loveless marriages. Catherine says she would like to live in a castle with a prince. Howard tells her that he once played the fairy tale frog prince in a kindergarden play, but the girl who was supposed to kiss him was so disgusted by his frog mask that she walked off stage and never kissed him. All his life he has remained the enchanted frog. Catherine then kisses him and tells him he is a prince. She tells him she's going to leave her husband and move back to Paris. He considers going with her but he doesn't commit to it.

Later we see Howard alone in Central Park in an empty concert pavilion. He sees a frog hopping on the ground and decides that he doesn't want to be a frog anymore, he wants to be a prince. He quits his job, telling his boss the frog story, but his boss tries to convince him he was never a frog to encourage him not to quit. It doesn't work.

Howard buys a large stuffed polka-dot frog and brings it to Catherine, telling her he wants to run away with her. By now I'm sick and tired of the frog prince metaphor, but it keeps hopping along all the way to the last scenbe of the movie. Catherine tells the frog/prince story to her husband and that's when he realizes that Howard is the guy she's leaving with. Catherine carries the stuffed frog in the car that drives her to the airport along with her husband (Peter Lawford) who tries to talk her out of leaving. She puts the frog on the airplane seat next to hers as she waits alone until Howard finally shows up at the last second and they fly off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Right? This movie should have been titled "The Frog Prince" since "April" is never mentioned except at the very end in the Burt Bacharach song that plays as their plane takes off to Paris.

I didn't doubt that a man could meet Catherine and impulsively give up his wife and child and his job to run away with her. She's Catherine Deneuve after all, one of the most beautiful actresses of all time, according to bored lonely guys and web journalists on a deadline who get paid to make up lists of that sort of thing. But I do question the value of the many movies with this sort of fairy tale ending - the couple runs away from an unpleasant reality into an unknown future with no jobs, no money, no place to stay, no plan at all, with nothing but their love to take care of them. Maybe they'd be better off staying frogs.