IMDb > Under the Roofs of Paris (1930)
Sous les toits de Paris
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Under the Roofs of Paris (1930) More at IMDbPro »Sous les toits de Paris (original title)

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René Clair (scenario)
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Release Date:
2 January 1930 (USA) See more »
Albert is smitten for Pola but ends up wrongly committed in jail, in the meantime her affections are sort after by his friend, and on his release both love and friendship must be tested. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 win See more »
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 8 February 2014, 6:00 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
the bridge between talkies and silent film See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Albert Préjean ... Albert
Pola Illéry ... Pola
Edmond T. Gréville ... Louis
Bill Bocket ... Emile, le voleur
Paul Ollivier ... Un client du café
Gaston Modot ... Fred, le dur
Raymond Aimos ... Un gars du milieu
Thomy Bourdelle ... François
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Delphine Abdala ... La buraliste (uncredited)
Raymond Blot ... Un membre de la bande à Fred (uncredited)
Léon Courtois ... L'inspecteur (uncredited)
Édouard Francomme ... Un membre de la bande à Fred (uncredited)
André Michaud ... Un agent (uncredited)
Jane Pierson ... La dame du premier (uncredited)
Louis Pré Fils ... Le locataire du troisième (uncredited)
Eugène Stuber ... Un membre de la bande à Fred (uncredited)
Louis Zellas ... Le consommateur jaloux (uncredited)

Directed by
René Clair 
Writing credits
René Clair (scenario)

Original Music by
Raoul Moretti 
Vincent Scotto 
Cinematography by
Georges Périnal 
Georges Raulet 
Film Editing by
René Le Hénaff 
Art Direction by
Lazare Meerson 
Costume Design by
René Hubert 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Georges Lacombe .... assistant director
Sound Department
W. Morhenn .... sound director
Hermann Storr .... sound director
Music Department
Armand Bernard .... music arranger
René Nazelles .... lyrics
Bruce Sievier .... English lyrics

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Sous les toits de Paris" - France (original title)
See more »
96 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Tobis Klangfilm) | Silent

Did You Know?

The opening sequence and the street scenes etc are done in a purposely built studio.See more »
Albert, a young street singer:[On seeing Pola bedding down on his bedroom floor] Okay, take the bed, I'll sleep on the floor.See more »
Sous les toits de ParisSee more »


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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
the bridge between talkies and silent film, 29 June 2006
Author: jpetsy07 from United States

For René Clair's influential film Sous les toits de Paris, sound and action were put together in a way that should have set an example for the impending technological developments that were about to take over cinema. Clair's concern for "talkies" was not one which totally denounced the use of sound in film, it only viewed it skeptically so as not to lose cinema's essence. Clair instead adopted a skepticism of talkies so that the art of cinema, his "new medium of expression" or "new poetry", would not be sold out to the masses of audiences looking for a thrill, or big industrialists looking to make big bucks at the box office.

René Clair used so many original and striking combinations of sound and image in this film. There are a few most notable that I wish to discuss. The moments I vividly remember in Clair's movie all involve either movement of the camera or the relationship between sound and image. I greatly admired the use of the train and shots around the fight in the alley that heightened the excitement and anticipation. When the alley fight breaks out, we view at first from behind a pole, then from behind a fence with smoke, then in complete darkness. At every subsequent shot we lose more and more information as to what is happening. This is accompanied by the sound of a chugging train, pulling through loud and fast, which serves to describe the rough action but not lucidly identify it. This convention takes our auditory sense of the fight away as well. This loss of senses of the visual and audio correlation is a technique which sparks our imagination and lets us "fill in the blanks" or draw possible conclusions as the scene plays on. It is impossible to not wonder who is winning, was Albert stabbed, who will be hurt etc. because there are no perceptual clues to give us a hint. This beckoning for the audience's imagination is the heart of Clair's vision. Most of the conversations between characters are treated in the same fashion. Whether the sound is shut out by the closed café door (as in the scene between Albert and Louis rolling dice for Pola), or by the lowering of dialogue to an inaudible whisper (as in Albert whispering to Pola and her replies of "no."), or in the confines of the non-diegetic sound filling the scene (like when Fred and Pola argue in the bar but the bar noise outweighs their fight), the audience is left to make up the dialogue themselves. Clair's ability to leave the useless talking out and still create wonderful soundscapes and captivating excitement is a point of artistic praise for Sous les toits de Paris. More evidence for Clair innovative use of sound and picture is in the alarm clock scene. In the scene, after Pola and Albert are waking up from the night before, we see Pola sleeping in Albert's bed and Albert on the floor. Suddenly, an alarm rings and wakes them up, but the camera cuts to Pola's high heel shoes on the floor next to Albert. Albert reaches over and taps the shoes- and the alarm shuts off. Viewers, (myself included) are confused until the shot is drawn back and we see Pola reaching over to turn off the true alarm clock. Moments like this are bits of creative brilliance that serve to trick us and keep us aware of the sounds we are hearing in relation to what we are watching.

René Clair used the capabilities of synchronized sound in moderation in order to hold the qualities of silent film but still incorporate new technology. His use of sound was used creatively, to parallel the action, trick the audience, or make the visuals altogether striking. The auditory ambiguity is created with a purpose that stays true to the art of cinema.

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