Always self-critical, James Mason regarded this film as one of the best from his Hollywood period and understandably so. Micheal Wilson's screenplay based upon the memoirs of L.C. Moyzisch is scintillating, witty and intelligent. Mason's in-built arrogance has never been used to greater effect and his delivery is superlative. Director Mankiewicz keeps the momentum going and never lets the tension drop ably assisted by Bernard Hermann's score. Danielle Darrieux is outstanding as the mercenary, manipulative and treacherous Countess Staviska. Luckily we have been spared here the curse of the 'American accent' and have the joy of listening to Oscar Karlweiss as Moyzisch, Herbert Berghof as von Richter and John Wengraf as von Papen. A gripping, entertaining film full of bitter ironies, not least the dim-witted Germans dismissing the information regarding the D-Day landings as false. What an amazing piece of luck for us all!
The Brain (1969)Brainless
27 March 2020
This appalling mess might have represented the high point in the career of luscious Silva Monti but for the director and other cast members this has to be the bottom of the barrel. Moronic, peurile, infantile rubbish.. I can only advise those who have awarded this heap of garbage 10/10 to have their heads examined.
Titanic (1943)An eternal condemnation of the English quest for profit.
25 March 2020
The premise that the loss of fifteen hundred lives aboard HMS Titanic was due to Bruce Ismay's bribing Captain Smith to maintain a speed of 26 knots in order to reach New York ahead of schedule is patently absurd but presumably Goebbels believed that the German public would lap anything up. The record had already been established by the Mauritania in 1909. The real tragedy was due to the lamentable lack of lifeboats, for which Ismay must be held accountable and the failure of Captain Lord of SS Californian to respond to radio messages and distress signals. The premiere was planned for 1943 but Goebbels pulled it, obviously realising that the film would be more likely to depress than entertain. A censored version was finally shown in Germany in 1955. Goebbels was apparently none too impressed with the acting but it looks okay to me. Some very classy females on display here. The tragic Sybille Schmitz. Kirsten Heilborg, regarded as a traitress by her fellow Norwegians, Charlotte Thiele who made a speedy exit to South America and the delightful Monika Burg who reinvented herself in France as Claude Farrell. Ernst Fritz Fuebringer is a reprehensible Ismay and Karl Schoenboek utilises his elegant aristocratic persona to great effect as the ruthless Astor. Hans Neilsen is excellent as Petersen although his character is rather self-righteous. The film itself certainly has merit especially the scenes following the collision. As is well documented director Herbert Selpin was bumped off by the Nazis and replaced by uncredited Werner Klinger. A previous reviewer has incorrectly noted the connection with the ill-fated ship Wilhelm Gustloff. In fact the exterior sequences were shot aboard the equally ill-fated Cap Arcona. Hardly any of Goebbel's overtly propogandist films achieved their original intentions but they nonetheless remain horribly fascinating. This is no exception.
The Singer Not the Song (1961)A kind heart is a weak heart
22 March 2020
The writing was on the wall it seems for this even before filming began. The production was troubled and it shows. Roy Baker was reluctant to direct. Dirk Bogarde sensed that he was totally miscast as a desperado(he was absolutely right!) and voiced his objections to the casting of John Mills as the Priest. The gorgeous Mylene Demongeot is the meat in the sandwich and hers is the performance that lingers. Mills portrays very well the kindliness of Father Michael but his Irish accent is risible. No need to dwell on Bogarde's 'camp' performance as the bandit as this has been more than adequately covered by other reviewers! This is a literate adaptation by Nigel Balchin from the novel of Audrey Erskine- Lindop but is utterly devoid of passion, fire and what the Spanish would call 'Cojones'. It is all far too 'English' for its own good. Excellent cinematography by Otto Heller and a mediocre score by Philip Green. The poster proclaimed ' a strange and terrible combat between two men in a strange and terrible Mexican town'. This is indeed a strange and terrible film.
The Night of the Generals (1967)Since we must give medals to mass murderers....
20 March 2020
Five years had elapsed since Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif took the world by storm in 'Lawrence of Arabia'. Here they are obliged to honour their earlier contracts and to work for laughably low salaries. Veteran Anatole Litvak directs but discovers, as did David Lean, that producer Sam Spiegel is an ego-maniacal meddler in true David Selznick mode.. The film fared badly both critically and commercially despite the box office appeal of its two stars. The main plot concerns the brutal slaughter of a prostitute in Warsaw and of another in Paris. There are three suspects all of whom happen to be Nazi generals; Seidlitz-Gabler, Kahlenberge and Tanz played respectively by Charles Gray, Donald Pleasance and O'Toole. It is blatantly obvious from the outset which of the three is guilty but the interest lies in the single-minded deterrmination of Sharif as Major Grau, to uncover the murderer and bring him to justice. By a cruel twist of fate he is denied the chance to nail the culprit and his friend Inspector Morand, the marvellous Philippe Noiret, succeeds in doing so twenty years later when the same general commits a third murder in Hamburg. Gray and Pleasance are both excellent and O'Toole is, quite franky, mesmerising. As for the sub-plots we have the romance between Tom Courteney and Joanna Pettet and the July plot to kill Hitler both of which alas are complete non-events. The film sadly works as neither 'whodunnit' nor war film despite a few good scenes. The other problem with this as with other 'international' productions is the mishmash of accents on display. German officers for example are 'dubbed' either by frightfully British actors like Valentine Dyall or in one case, by an American! Let's not even mention the Poles and the French! The score by Maurice Jarre is just right and Henri Decae's cinematography superb. The real fascination of this film however lies in the truly bizarre and hypnotic performance of O'Toole, twitch and all.
The Wretches (1960)'You didn't hire her to sing did you?'
18 March 2020
There are some films which although not entirely dreadful are ones that you are in no hurry to see again. This is one of them. There is some good cinematography here and Louisette Hautecoeur's editing, especially that of the party scene, is commendable. The film simply fails to grip. The Yoolands, played by Robert Hossein and Michele Morgan, have been torn apart by the death of their son but one wonders how such a mis-matched couple got together in the first place. The weakest link however is the score by Hossein's father Andre. It is both irritating and intrusive. The best film directors possess a sense of music and the best film composers a sense of drama. Both father and son are sadly deficient here in these respects. Michele Morgan is always good value but even she cannot keep this turgid drama afloat.
Army of Shadows (1969)This time, Gerbier decided not to run.
18 March 2020
Jean-Pierre Melville's third film about the French Resistance was released in 1969 and can be seen as an antidote to Ophul's 'The Sorrow and the Pity'. Not very well received at the time owing to its supposed Gaullist sympathies it has long since come to be regarded as a masterpiece. Based upon the testimonies of Resistance fighters this adaptation of Joseph Kessel's novel is a gripping, visceral and immensely powerful piece of cinema. The escape from Gestapo headquarters, the execution of the informer, the attempted rescue of Felix from prison, Gerbier's escape from the shooting range and the final close ups of the protagonists with a description of their grim fates. These are scenes which are indelibly etched. The cinematography by Pierre L'Homme is superb and there is a haunting score by Eric de Marsan. Melville has assembled an extremely talented and charismatic cast whose characters exhibit a type of courage of which very few are capable. Luc Jardie as portrayed by Paul Meurisse, is generally assumed to be based upon Jean Moulin who was tortured by Klaus Barbie, the 'butcher of Lyon'. Viewing of this film may not be comfortable but it is essential.
Boule de suif (1934)The oldest profession.
17 March 2020
Interesting that Guy de Maupassant's first short story should also be the first feature of Mikhail Romm. His direction is very assured and he succeeds in creating a distinctly French ambiance and period atmosphere strangely lacking from the later version of Chrisian-Jaque. The less said about the Robert Wise version the better! Unlike these two directors Romm has resisted the temptation to combine this story with another of Maupassant's Franco-Prussian War tales 'Mademoiselle Fifi'. The title 'Boule de Suif' literally translates as 'tub of lard' and refers to the prostitute Elisabeth Rousset marvellously portrayed by Elisabeth Sergeyeva. As anyone who has read this short story will know it reflects human nature in a very negative light. The selfish and self-interested passengers beg Rousset to sleep with the Prussian officer so that he will allow them to resume their interrupted journey. This she does but is subsequently shunned by them and feels the weight of their hypocrisy. Even the nuns show little compassion. Romm has used the cramped conditions of the coach and extensive close ups to great effect in bringing this masterful tale to the screen.
My Man Godfrey (1936)A fifth avenue asylum
17 March 2020
Comedy is a fragile commodity that seldom travels well and dates quickly. The fact that this film is still receiving rapturous reviews over eighty years after its appearance is a testament to its being a glorious exception. By all accounts director Gregory La Cava was as eccentric as the films characters. Eugene Pallette as the harassed patriarch, Gail Patrick as his scatty wife and Alice Brady as their conniving daughter are all fabulous. William Powell as impeccable as ever as the title character and the wondrous Carole Lombard who possessed the unbeatable combination of comedic talent and sex appeal. The chemistry between former husband and wife Powell and Lombard is still very much in evidence here. Graham Greene in his Spectator review referred to this film as 'acutely funny three quarters of the time'. Coming from Mr. Greene that was the ultimate compliment! The remake of 1957 with David Niven and June Allyson certainly has its moments but only serves to remind us how timeless and miraculous is the original.
North West Frontier (1959)'A cup of tea might come in handy'.
16 March 2020
A gung-ho tale of derring-do set in the days of the Raj filmed in splendid Eastmancolor by Geoffrey Unsworth with a stirring score by Mischa Spoliansky. Plenty of 'stiff upper' here and lots of 'colonial' references such as 'God is on the side of the British' and Captain Scott's immortal line upon witnessing a scene of carnage; 'see what happens when the British aren't around to keep order!' Scott, as played by Kenneth More, also gets to give a rousing rendition of the Eton Boating song and there is a quote from Kipling who is described as 'another tea drinker'. Lovely cast of course including Eugene Deckers and Wilfred Hyde-White. Lauren Bacall has obviously been cast with a view to the American box office and very good she is too with her wonderfully 'smoky' voice. Villains are infinitely more interesting than heros and it is the superlative scene stealer Herbert Lom who has the best lines. His character's reading material on the train is 'the decline of an Empire, Roman not British'. Although the dialogue is generally pretty lame this is a well-paced film with plenty of momentum and some great action sequences which did director J. Lee Thompson's career no harm at all. Gregory Peck liked it and recommended that Thompson direct 'The Guns of Navarone'.
The Nun's Story (1959)You are not in the mould Sister and never will be.
16 March 2020
The range and quality of the films of Fred Zinnemann is indisputable. His attention to detail and strong emphasis on characterisation are legend and woe betide any of his actors who came to the set unprepared. He has again wrought his magic in this adaptation of Katherine Hulme's novel largely based upon the life of Marie Louise Habets. Hulme, Habets and Audrey Hepburn formed a tremendous bond and it shows in Hepburn's performance as Sister Luke which is decidedly her best. Splendid performances also by Edith Evans, Peter Finch and Dean Jagger. The Mother Superior tells the postulants that theirs will be 'a life against Nature'. Sister Luke has always struggled with absolute obedience to the 'holy rule' and her inability to forgive the Germans who have killed her beloved father makes her realise that she must relinquish her vows. The score of Franz Waxman is superlative and Zinnemann's instinct to have no music at all at the end renders the final scene one of the greatest in the history of film. Even those who have little or no religious conviction whatsoever cannot fail to be touched by Habet's story so movingly portrayed.
The Guns of Navarone (1961)'He's from Crete.....they don't make idle threats'.
15 March 2020
Although author Alistair Maclean was unimpressed with this version of his novel he should really have been grateful for the films tremendous success and the excellence of its cast. This is without doubt the very best film of its type and will never be equalled. Strictly speaking the leads are a little too old for their roles but their characters are exremely well-drawn and their unique personalities sustain our interest in a way that younger actors might not. Alexander Mackendrick was given the old heave-ho by producer Carl Foreman and J. Lee Thompson was brought in to direct on the recommendation of Gregory Peck. Thompson does a first-rate job here. He went on to direct Peck in the excellent 'Cape Fear' and the risible 'Mackenna's Gold'. Quinn, Niven, Quayle and company are all splendid whist the 'female interest' is supplied by the magnificent Irene Papas and the lovely but tragic Gia Scala whose best role this proved to be. Anyone who says that Peck is 'wooden' and there are some who do, isn't looking at his eyes. The scenes on the boat, the scaling of the cliff 'that can't be climbed by man nor beast', the interrogation by the SS officer and the destruction of the infamous Guns are unforgettable. Dimitri Tiomkin deservedly won a Golden Globe for his score. An absolutely abysmal sequel with a different cast and director was made entitled 'Force 10 Navarone'. One wonders what Maclean thought of that one?!
El Cid (1961)God sent you to us, my son.
15 March 2020
Easily the best film from Samuel Bronston Productions based in Madrid that went bust three years later, being unable to sustain the costly failure of 'The Fall of the Roman Empire'. Both films were directed by Anthony Mann, written by Philip Yordan, shot by Robert Krasker and starred Sophia Loren. There I'm afraid the comparison ends. The composer here is Maestro Miklos Rosza whose score is assuredly one of his best. The title character could not be played any better than it is by Charlton Heston who brings strength and nobility of character to the role whilst Sophia Loren's full-blooded and indeed full-bodied performance as Chimene is irresistible. They are supported by a top notch band of character actors notably Herbert Lom, Douglas Wilmer(never better) Ralph Truman, Michael Hordern and not forgetting the outrageous Frank Thring, known affectionately among his peers as 'The Thring from Outer Space'! Raf Vallone makes the best of a pretty thankless role. John Fraser as Alfonso is given the opportunity to progress from petulant Prince to magnanimous Monarch and as his sister Genevieve Page is mesmerising. Two weaknesses however. Sophia Loren refused to age throughout the film and when advised that a particular way of wearing her hair was 'historically inaccurate', snapped back:'We are not making a documentary about the Middle Ages'! Andrew Cruickshank is rather miscast as her father. He plays the King's champion and although his character has to be mature he looks terribly out of condition and his sword fight with Heston's Roderigo looks far too much of an effort for him! These minor quibbles aside director Mann and his team have given us a majestic, intelligent, visually stunning and splendidly performed epic that can certainly be revisited. What a pity they could not weave the same magic three years later. Such are the mysteries of film.
Staircase (1969)Dire Dyer
15 March 2020
The two homosexual hairdressers in Charles Dyer's play were created here by Paul Schofield and Patrick Magee and then played on Broadway by Eli Wallach and Milo O'Shea. Excellent actors all but with a view to box office receipts Rex Harrison and Richard Burton were cast in this version directed by Stanley Donen. In his autobiography Harrison includes a still of himself from 'My Fair Lady' with the caption 'I think I've got it'. On the opposite page is a still as Pope Julius in 'The Agony and the Ecstasy' under which is the phrase: 'I think I've had it!' This just about sums up his film career following his Oscar-winning triumph. Apparently both he and Burton agreed to do it only if the other one would. At the time their decision to take on these roles might have seemed both challenging and courageous but in retrospect it was both ill-judged and ill-advised. There is no denying their 'star quality' and technical expertise but the film itself is simply awful and their performances verge on caricature. Despite their massive salaries they must both have rued the day they got involved in this sorry enterprise. The critical mauling and commercial failure of this film must surely have been a bitter disappointment to Dyer himself.
This Special Friendship (1964)Black sheep are to be kept out of the flock.
13 March 2020
Diirector Jean Delannoy is on top form here with this stupendous film based on the largely autobiographical novel of Roger Peyrefitte, superbly adapted by the prolific Aurenche and Bost. I never miss the opportunity of singing the praises of editor Louisette Hautecoeur and her work here is exemplary whilst the cinematography of Christian Matras is immaculate. The performances are uniformly excellent but mention must be made of Francis Lacombrade who as Georges is, in effect, the author's alter ego, Michel Bouquet as Father Trennes who prides himself on 'deciphering the secrets of others' whilst concealing his own and stalwart Louis Seigner as Father Lauzon who genuinely believes that he is battling with Satan for the soul of young Alexandre played by Didier Haudepin. The film really belongs however to Haudepin whose performance is wondrous. Excellent use of J.S.Bach and Aquinas while the use of Allouette in the tragic train sequence is devastating. I have no hesitation in nominating this beautifully constructed, poignant, haunting and heartfelt film as one of Delannoy's best and rate it accordingly.
The Whisperers (1967)It's grim up North.
13 March 2020
Let me begin in axe-grinding mode. I am astonished that Bryan Forbes had to wait until he was practically at Death's door before receiving a BFI Fellowship and was even too frail to attend. Steve McQueen however has already received a Fellowship by virtue of nothing but political correctness. Moving on, Forbes here has tackled a pretty bleak subject head on and has not pulled any punches. Rochefoucauld observed that 'old age is woman's hell'. It is even more hellish if she is isolated, short of funds and has, to put it bluntly, mislaid a few marbles. This is a well-written and well-directed film in which you certainly won't catch any of the first-rate cast 'acting'. The excellent Eric Portman utilises his native Yorkshire accent. Edith Evans, astonishingly, did not make her first film until she was 61! She had been advised by Alec Guinness that on camera 'little is good, less is better' and director Thorold Dickinson had a hell of a job trying to get her to do more. It would not be long of course before she achieved the perfect balance and as Mrs. Ross she is simply stupendous. Many lament her losing out to Katherine Hepburn in the Oscar stakes but if there is one thing Hollywood cannot abide it is a 'feel bad' movie. One should see this excellent but exceedingly grim film once but I wager that having done so, one will be in no great rush to see it again.
Portrait of a Killer (1949)Looping the Loop.
13 March 2020
I was drawn to this film by the cast and it is the cast that kept me riveted. It is highly unlikely that Maria Montez would ever pick up any awards for her dramatic skills but there is no denying that she was a photogenic, fascinating female and in this is perfectly suited to her role. Messieurs Brasseur, von Stroheim, Berry and Dalio never disappoint but it is the performance of Arletty that lingers longest. She is absolutely riveting and although things could never be the same for her after the War for reasons which have been well-documented, she never ceased to be good value. This is a rather bizarre and in some ways a ludicrous film but eminently watchable thanks to the 'noirish' touches by Roger Hubert, the score by Maurice Thiriet and a line up of truly charismatic performers.
A Kiss for a Killer (1957)Quelle histoire!
12 March 2020
Ever since Zola wrote 'Therese Raquin' the formula of the young lovers killing off the inconvenient husband has proved extremely popular with writers and film-makers. In this fine adaptation of Hadley Chase's 'The Sucker Punch' the intended victim is the wealthy wife. Although known as 'A Kiss for a Killer' the original French title loosely translates as 'The Chump and the Babe'. Handsome hunk Henri Vidal is very good as the chump and Mylene Demongeot is magnificent as the babe. The wife is wonderfully played by one of Italy's greatest cinematic prima donnas, Isa Miranda, here seamlessly dubbed by Lita Recio. Very well directed by craftsman Henri Verneuil, beautifully shot by Christian Matras with an excellent score by Paul Durand. The editing by Louisette Hautecoeur is as always, exemplary. The murder scene is brilliantly handled and the ending which in lesser hands might be risible is very effective. I get rather weary of reading reviews in which Demongeot is compared to Bardot. Demongeot is a far better actress but does not have Bardot's notoriety. As for Henri Vidal, how on earth one wonders could such a fit, athletic man die of a heart attack at the age of forty? One then reads that he had a drug problem which would make his premature demise not quite so surprising. This is an absorbing, first class film noir in which committing the crime is one thing, living with it quite another.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)Desert loving English
12 March 2020
One cannot really add much to the superlatives heaped upon this undisputed masterpiece, adapted by playwright Robert Bolt from T. E. Lawrence's 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom'. Director David Lean himself has admitted that he 'got it wrong' on a few occasions. Firstly in not having the courage to hold Omar Sharif's entrance for longer and secondly in not making it clearer that Lawrence was not only beaten but also buggered by the Turks. The film suggests that Lawrence did not know about the Sykes-Picot Treaty but only 'suspected'. He almost certainly did know hence his sense of guilt at having betrayed the Arabs. These are minor quibbles of course and do not detract from the films magnificence. It would be nigh on impossible to assemble a cast of this quality now and in the highly unlikely event of its being remade, everything would be CGI'd, even the camels! When Lean and cinemtographer Freddie Young met on the set, Young said 'Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs'. Lean very wisely took his advice. At the films premiere the Duke of Edinburgh enquired of Lean:'good flick is it?' Lean's response? 'I hope so, sir'.
Lady in Cement (1968)Leaden as Cement
12 March 2020
Raymond Chandler created a character in Philip Marlowe that has cast a long shadow and has spawned many weak and inferior imitations. Frank Sinatra's two films as private dick Tony Rome definitely fall into that category. To utilise Sinatra's 'hip' persona no doubt seemed a great idea at the time. The results however are absolutely dire. The first of the two is just about bearable but the sheer awfulness of this one beggars belief. Pedestrian direction by journeyman Gordon Douglas, moronic script and atrocious score. A previous reviewer has referred to this dismal opus as 'junk but fun'. There is absolutely no fun whatsoever in watching junk, least of all when it features an artiste of Sinatra's calibre. Things didn't get any better for him and he followed this up with the equally risible 'Dirty Dingus Magee' which effectively killed off his film career. As Sinatra himself might have said:'Pitsville, baby'!
Elena and Her Men (1956)La Comedie est terminee
11 March 2020
Jean Renoir will always be judged by his timeless pre-war French classics which means that his subsequent films invariably fall short. This is the third of his 'trilogy' of the 1950's. It is not quite as bad as 'La Carosse d'Or' but not nearly as good as 'French Cancan'. Thanks to cinematography by Claude Renoir everything and everyone looks ravishing. It begins extremely well but the blossoming romance between luminous Ingrid Bergman and elegant Mel Ferrer is soon swamped by farcical situations which are so unfunny as to be embarassing. Love conquers all at the end which is a relief because it means the film is finally over. Apparently Rossellini advised his wife to work with Renoir and Bergman. Having made this dud with the former she had to wait twenty years to work with the latter which produced the astonishing 'Autumn Sonata'.
It Happened on July 20th (1955)Hitler lebt!
11 March 2020
The total number of attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler has never been truly established but the fact that Hitler escaped them all is absolutely mind-boggling. He sustained minor injuries in what is undoubtedly the most renowned of these plots, that of July 1944. Had not the suitcase containing the bomb been moved behind a thick table leg seconds before the blast.....pure supposition of course. Following the failed attempt the gruesome fates of the well-intentioned conspirators and the subsequent purge of thousands have been well-documented. G.W.Pabst has chosen to depict the events in a clinical, matter-of-fact manner and although it cannot be faulted as a factual account, judged purely as a film it is regrettably rather dull. We are at least spared the spectacle of a ranting Hitler and just see the back of an actor's head. The film is of value as an historical document but could not a director of Pabst's ability have made it slightly more 'entertaining'?
Be Beautiful But Shut Up (1958)A disappointment.
11 March 2020
A film that has a promising beginning but becomes rather tedious and tiresome. The previous reviewer has suggested that the premature death of leading man Henri Vidal paved the way for Delon and Belmondo. That is highly debatable! Vidal's performance here is enhanced by the chemistry between him and his ravishing co-star Mylene Demongeot. The 1950's were to prove by far the best period for this irresistible and talented actress. Roger Hanin is marvellously menacing as the villain and his persona was to be used to great effect as the homosexual boxing promoter in Visconti's 'Rocco and his Brothers'. Alain Delon had made his debut for Marc Allegret's brother Yves in 'When the Devil fails...' and would go on to become with the help of Clement, Visconti and Antonioni, a very fine actor in spite of his good looks. As for Darry Cowl, although one can admire his comedy timing his particular brand of buffoonery has never been to my taste but that is just my opinion. This film has been lumbered with the title 'Blonde for Danger' and one can only surmise that the original 'Be beautiful and shut up' would not have gone down too well with non-European audiences. The history of Cinema is littered with films that should have been 'better' and this I'm afraid, is one of them.
The Beasts of Marseilles (1957)Beastly
10 March 2020
This has the alternative title 'The Beasts of Marseilles'. The only 'beasts' here are the director, editor, writer and composer, all of whom have conspired to make some decent actors seem distinctly mediocre. An abysmal film with no redeeming features at all.
Tricoche et Cacolet (1938)It's all about the 'timing'.
9 March 2020
Based upon the play by Halevy and Meillac, best known perhaps for their libretto for Bizet's 'Carmen', this is comedy in true 'Boulevard' style. The quickfire delivery and manner of acting is likely to mystify a modern audience but great artistry is timeless; or at least it should be! Elvire Popesco is simply incomparable in this particular genre and is given great support by Saturnin Fabre, Jean Weber and the wondrous Ginette Leclerc whilst Fernandel utilises his experience in Vaudeville to great effect and is an absolute joy to watch. Needless to say this type of 'specialised' comedy is difficult to pull off and in lesser hands can very often fall flat but here we have a first rate director steeped in the tradition and players who never miss a beat. Should this whet your appetite I would recommend Fernandel in 'Les Rois du Sport' for the same director which has the added bonus of Raimu and Jules Berry no less!