Boudu, a tramp, jumps into the Seine. He is rescued by Mr Lestingois, a gentle and good bookseller, who gives shelter to him. Mrs Lestingois and the maid Anne-Marie (Mr Lestingois' mistress... See full summary »
Boudu, a tramp, jumps into the Seine. He is rescued by Mr Lestingois, a gentle and good bookseller, who gives shelter to him. Mrs Lestingois and the maid Anne-Marie (Mr Lestingois' mistress) are far from delighted, for Boudu is lazy, dirty and salacious... Written by
Very enjoyable; Michel Simon is inspired as Boudu.
I'm sure this film would have raised many an eyebrow at the time, perhaps due to the distinctly modern depiction of marriage and relationships. Jean Renoir directs and writes with a sure, light touch, poking subtle fun at bourgeois values through Granval and Hainia's characters. Charles Granval is wonderful as the laid back liberal Bookseller, with no real skills of character judgement, while Marcelle Hainia is delightful as the wife not quite as prim and "respectable" as she seems at first. The major portrayal is of Boudu, though. Michel Simon shows a remarkable comic touch, up to the likes of Tati almost (what an interesting pairing Tati and Simon would have made...). His vagabond, Boudu is both a seedy and wonderfully endearing creation, with moments of casual, blunt pathos and eccentricity interspersed expertly by Renoir. In many ways, the work of Chaplin seems an influence on the film, with the lowly tramp portrayed as no worse than the bourgeosie. There is none of Chaplin's much remarked-upon sentimentality though, with Boudu coming never less than a little flawed. It's interesting to view how he changes throughout the film, from suicidal to anarchic to a man of principled decision- the final choice he has to make in the wonderful end sequence.
As the first Renoir I've seen, it bodes well for future renoir viewings as "Boudu" generally isn't seen as one of his masterpieces.
"Boudu Saved From Drowning" is a delight. It's pace is leisurely, relaxed, but never seems slow. It's a better film than the 1934 Vigo effort "L'Atalante" starring Simon, as it has excellent characters and an effective, humour and plot. Wonderful it is, be assured. Rating:- **** 1/2 (out of *****).
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