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Le roi des Champs-Élysées (1934)

 |  Comedy  |  11 December 1934 (USA)
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In Paris, a stage-struck would-be actor is mistaken for an escaped convict.


(as Max Nossek)
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Title: Le roi des Champs-Élysées (1934)

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Credited cast:
Buster Garner / Jim le Balafré
Madeleine Guitty ...
Madame Garnier
Paulette Dubost ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Raymond Blot ...
(as Blot)
Lucien Callamand ...
(as Callamand)
Paul Clerget
Colette Darfeuil ...
Jacques Dumesnil ...
Un gangster (as Dumesnil)
Gaston Dupray ...
(as Dupray)
Jim Gérald
Franck Maurice
Pierre Piérade ...
(as Piérade)
Henry Prestat


Buster Garnier is having a very bad day, even by his standards. First of all he manages to lose his job distributing flyers for a car company when he accidentally hands out packets of real notes instead of the false money-off vouchers; then he blunders into a stage performance at the theatre where his mother is prompt, and gets thrown out there too. Methodically, he drapes a black band across his own portrait, writes a last note to his mother, bids farewell to his pets one by one, switches on the gas tap, and composes himself calmly on the floor to await oblivion. But Life hasn't had its last laugh at his expense just yet... Meanwhile, across town, a scarred and ruthless gangster is preparing to break out of jail. Unknown to either man, the two of them are almost exactly alike; and when Buster finds himself on stage in the role of a jail-bird, fact and fiction are about to get extremely confused! Written by Igenlode Wordsmith

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

11 December 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The King of the Champs Elysees  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rarely screened publicly in U.S. (never distributed commercially); Los Angeles premiere on 3 June 2005 (UCLA). See more »


Buster Keaton did not speak French, so his dialog in this Paris-made talkie was dubbed by an actor whose vocal pitch was an incongruous tenor. In one scene with Colette Darfeuil (who played Simone) the dubbing engineer missed a line, and we can plainly hear Buster say "Go get me a drink" in English, in his distinctive gravelly voice. See more »


Featured in Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

Solid if not Super Keaton
24 December 2011 | by (California, USA) – See all my reviews

This is good movie. I found a fairly clear copy with English subtitles from A-1 video, image and sound properly in-sync, but image tightly cropped, and it can be seen from reading the subs that the movie has none of the awful joke-dialogue that plague the MGM comedies. The story is well put together and, unusually, I can find nothing I would edit down or cut out. It is not a high-budget affair, but the script does not require it.

The notion that a U.S. release of this film might have revived Buster Keaton's career doesn't make any sense: the general public still loved Keaton in the early 1930s, and his worst movies were very successful; the only way of "reviving" his career would have been for a major studio to hand over full production of movie-making to Buster, and I don't see how this film or any other non-Buster directed movie would have accomplished that. However, if the idea is that "Le Roi…" brought Keaton back to his old self, well, that's debatable, but he does not seem to be fighting for his comic life, either.

Of course, under Keaton's direction, the photography might have been pellucid instead of so much shadowy-gray, and the cinematography probably would have focused more clearly on the gag and story elements. If Buster had been completely in control, no doubt he would have found an even higher level of wit or irony in the story, and greater comedy in the details with probably a few innovative stunts as well; but overall "Le Roi…" remains a successful, if lesser Keaton vehicle. It is a particularly surprising and moving accomplishment to have taken place during the most disastrous time of his life, a time of suffering that would have killed anyone with less inner strength and resilience. This is a movie that deserves restoration and perhaps dubbing (so we can always watch the all-important physical action instead of reading).

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