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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
Good Performances From Charismatic Baker & Understated Gabin
Josephine Baker's charismatic performance as "Zouzou", along with Jean Gabin's good supporting performance as Jean, make this an entertaining film. The story and the rest of the movie are not bad either, but probably would not have worked nearly so well without the two leads. Baker is more known for her stage shows, but she does a pretty good job here, full of charm and buoyant energy that give you every reason to care about her character. She grabs your attention whenever she is in a scene, but also gives her character a more thoughtful turn when it is called for. Gabin's talented, understated performance is a nice complement to her lead, and you can see why he would soon become a star in his own right.
The story is a fairly familiar 'backstage' drama, with some romance and other complications thrown in. It's implausible at times, as such stories tend to be, but it moves at a good pace and it also provides the opportunity for some occasional lavish musical numbers. Most of the rest of the cast is just along for the ride, but they do their jobs well enough, and some of them have good moments of their own, too.
Overall, it's a pretty good film, and one that does not show too many signs of age (except for some defects in the print itself). It should be worth a look whether you like classics, musicals, or stories about life back stage.
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