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Monsieur Beaucaire (1924)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  11 August 1924 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 386 users  
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When M. Beaucaire, a handsome barber, catches the Duke of Winterset cheating at gambling, Beaucaire exacts Winterset's cooperation in sneaking Beaucaire into a great ball, disguised as the ... See full summary »

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Title: Monsieur Beaucaire (1924)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Duke de Chartres / Beaucaire
...
Princess Henriette
...
...
Lowell Sherman ...
Paulette Duval ...
John Davidson ...
Oswald Yorke ...
Miropoix
Flora Finch ...
Duchesse de Montmorency
Louis Waller ...
François
Ian Maclaren ...
Duke of Winterset
Frank Shannon ...
Badger
Templar Powell ...
Molyneux
H. Cooper Cliffe ...
Beau Nash
Downing Clarke ...
Lord Chesterfield
Edit

Storyline

When M. Beaucaire, a handsome barber, catches the Duke of Winterset cheating at gambling, Beaucaire exacts Winterset's cooperation in sneaking Beaucaire into a great ball, disguised as the Duke de Chartres, and to introduce him to the beautiful Lady Mary. The disguised barber successfully pulls off the masquerade and is soon the toast of society. But Winterset is embittered at having been blackmailed so, and he sets out to destroy Beaucaire if he can do so without revealing his own duplicity. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

11 August 1924 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Monsieur Beaucair  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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The Danish title is the same. See more »

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Featured in Blue Skies (1946) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not a classic, but it has its moments
3 August 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Everyone involved had very high expectations for this film—in particular it was hoped that it would allow Valentino to rise above his pulpy success in melodramas such as The Sheik and be regarded as a serious actor. Sadly, however, today Monsieur Beaucaire is largely remembered as an ill conceived project that helped to ruin Valentino's marriage (he and his wife saw themselves as artistic collaborators, but unfairly or not almost everyone else on the set saw her as a meddling nuisance) and nearly wrecked his career. This is also the role that supposedly confirms Valentino's so-called effeminacy, a charge that seems unjust—many critics seem to overlook, perhaps deliberately, that although Valentino as Chartes does wear a lot of brocade, lace and face paint at times (quite in keeping with the eighteenth century, aristocratic setting), he spends a large portion of the film rejecting this dandified persona—as in "Moran of the Lady Letty" he affirms that he is at his happiest when he has left behind his upper class milieu and is allowed be a regular Joe (a barber in this case). Valentino or the scriptwriter also has enough of a sense of humour to apparently spoof his off screen image as a great lover; as a droll title card points out, one of the advantages of being a common barber is that no one expects you to make love to her. Monsieur Beaucaire in fact allows Valentino many opportunities to display his flair for comedy, particularly in the middle part of the film when he can't wait for his first duel.

That said, it can't be denied that much of the film, particularly the beginning, is slow moving and static: sumptuous costumes and sets seem to have replaced dramatic action (The Sheik may have been inauthentic and schlocky, but at least it moved). I believe the film also suffers from its lack of a strong, or at least charismatic and likable leading lady for Valentino to spar with and court—a serious flaw in a romance. Princess Henriette (Bebe Daniels has been far more appealing elsewhere) and Lady Mary are virtually indistinguishable: spoiled and sullen, they recall the upper class fiancé Valentino was only too happy to be rid of in "Moran of the Lady Letty" far more than the memorable female leads of "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," "Blood and Sand," "The Eagle" and the sheik movies.

Not an unmitigated disaster by any means, but Valentino has certainly done better work elsewhere.


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