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As children, Zouzou and Jean are paired in a traveling circus as twins: she's dark, he's light. After they've grown, he treats her as if she were his sister, but she's in love with him. In Paris, he's a music hall electrician, she's a laundress who delivers clean underwear to the hall. She introduces him to Claire, her friend at work, and the couple fall in love. Jean conspires to get the show's star out of town and for the theater manager to see the high-spirited Zouzou perform. When Jean's accused of murder and Zouzou needs money to mount his defense, she pleads to go on stage. Her talents may save the show, but can anything save her dream of life with Jean? Written by
Bad musical comes to life when Josephine Baker takes the stage
I've long been a fan of Josephine Baker, but have never seen more than clips of her films. This is one of her most famous films, in which she co-stars with Jean Gabin. Unfortunately, it's pretty worthless. It's a musical, but it really doesn't want to be a Hollywood musical. It wants to be semi-realistic, and the songs only take place on stage, so there's only a couple of them, and they're right at the end. The first seventy minutes are ridiculous, moronically plotted, and boring. Baker and Gabin are twins, in reality two adopted children of a circus man (Pierre Larquey). When they grow up, Gabin is a sailor and Baker a laundress. Kind of. Gabin immediately isn't a sailor, but is instead an electrician working in the theater, where Baker gets accidentally discovered when the big star (Illa Meery) is acting up. Baker's secretly in love with her brother, but her co-worker (Yvette Lebon) catches his eye. Oh, and Gabin is sleeping with Meery, too, maybe. At least in one random scene. Ugh, the whole plot is a mess. And then we get to the giant musical number, which is so silly it would make Busby Berkeley laugh in derision - and that should be a hoot, but it's so over-edited that it becomes annoying. The film only comes to life when Baker is given center stage, which is not close to often enough. Even then, she's burdened with ludicrous costumes, like the one that makes her look like she has yeti fur growing out her tits. Damn, I was really looking forward to this.
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