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Herr Julien Boissel ( George Vaultier ) is a wealthy French businessman who is in love with a rich and French heiress, Dame Yvonne ( Sandra Milovanoff ). Both love each one secretly but pretty soon disgrace will interrupt such passionate love because the president of a yellow newspaper is blackmailing Yvonne's father, a retired Minister of State. Publication of some delicate, incriminating documents would cause such a big scandal and the newspaper editor wants to marry Yvonne, you see. Herr Julien, now abandoned by his lover, depressed and grieved, decides to spend a night at the joyful "Moulin Rouge" ( a place in where broad-minded girls dances all night long ) trying to forget his pain. There he will meet a doctor who will experiment with him using his new techniques that separate his spirit from his body.
"Le Fantôme Du Moulin Rouge" was the third film directed by Herr René Clair and the first full-length film of his filmography. The early and silent films of this important French director were characterized by their experimentation and avant-garde boldness, not to mention that he was very fond of fantasy films, a film genre in which includes "Le Fantôme ".
The storytelling of the film is perfect and much elaborated. It depicts a story around what could it be, at first, a simple film anecdote of those classic matters of unrequited love that affects even to the high classes; but it is more thanks to the inclusion in the plot of imaginative and fantastic elements.
Herr Clair uses tricks, visual and special effects with an oneiric depth in order to illustrate the wild doings of the Herr Julien's freed spirit (and that's another surprisingly element of this film ). It's a spirit that doesn't torture his former earthly body as do the classic spirits that we already know ( don't tell this aristocrat that you don't know a spirit in your neighbourhood?! ). This ethereal spirit prefers to have a carefree and good time around Paris, doing pranks around the city or in the cabarets, leaving those earthly love problems and sorrows for his former body. So this German aristocrat can say that it is a ludic Mr. Hyde, certainly.
Due to these original elements, the film, at first, a kind of "phantasmagorie", now turns to a delicious "comédie fantastique", both film genres that Herr René knew by that time very well, including a frantic and soft metaphysical ending that is absolutely remarkable.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must toast to his spirit with some spirits.
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