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One night socialite banker Baron Cassini attends the stage show of Eugene Charlier, who resembles him and imitates him in his act. The Baron is attracted to Charlier's jealous stage partner Mimi, while Eugene has similar ideas about Baroness Genevieve. When financial reverses lead to the Baron's disappearance, his frantic partners enlist Charlier to impersonate him; Mimi picks that night to take the Baron up on his invitation; and that's just the beginning... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Please, Monsieur Charlier. You know that kissing is not hygienic. Doctors claim that millions die each year from kissing.
Oh, yes? But what a pleasant way to die! Darling, kill me quick!
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Fans of the Grand Boulevardier Maurice Chevalier get a double treat in this film with Maurice starring in a dual role, as a millionaire titled financier and as a song and dance man who looks like the aforementioned baron and has a happy knack for impersonating him. In fact his impersonation is the hit of the review that the song and dance man is starring in at the Folies Bergere.
Which gives some of the baron's confederates the idea to have the song and dance man replace the baron at a reception while the baron makes a secret trip to London where if he doesn't pull off a financial coup, his fortune is history.
The people most confused in this comedy of mistaken identity are Merle Oberon as the wife of the baron and Ann Sothern as the song and dance man's girl friend and partner. Nobody bothers to clue them in and most of the comedy revolves around them. Especially Sothern who has a nasty temper when she thinks she's being trifled with. And both Maurices are big in the trifling department.
Folies Bergere was the last American production that Maurice Chevalier would appear in for over 20 years until Billy Wilder's Love In The Afternoon. If you wanted to see Chevalier you had to live in a big city and hope one of his French films would be playing at an art house. Maurice did leave America in a spectacular way, the film has more glitz in it than anything else he was in since Paramount On Parade.
In fact Folies Bergere with its glamorous production numbers resembles a Warner Brothers product with Busby Berkeley choreography more than any of Chevalier's previous films. But with the title of Folies Bergere, 20th Century Films wanted to make it look as colorful as the real Folies Bergere was.
The score is serviceable and Darryl Zanuck had the good sense to include Chevalier standard Valentina in it. Chevalier first introduced this and recorded it in 1925. It was his first big hit and came from a Parisian revue and it launched his career as a star.
Eric Blore stands out in this cast as the baron's valet who is also not let in on the masquerade. His reactions and general demeanor are very funny indeed.
Fans of the eternal Maurice should not miss this one.
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