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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 <email@example.com>
Folies Bergère de Paris (Roy Del Ruth, 1935) is a Lubitsch-like confection with numbers inspired by the kaleidoscopic choreography of Busby Berkeley. It's also among the best films I've caught this year. The story sees a vaudeville entertainer (Maurice Chevalier with his familiar persona) impersonate a baron (Chevalier again), leading to romantic complications for both. Ann Sothern is the entertainer's good time gal, with Merle Oberon the baron's flighty wife. It's witty and invigoratingly entertaining, with a fine performance by Chevalier in his dual role and a top supporting cast that includes Eric Blore, Robert Greig and Halliwell Hobbes. Despite the enjoyable plotting, the film's finest moments come through the slew of great numbers at both the beginning and the end of the film. The Singing a Happy Song finale, which won an Oscar for dance direction and features several hundred straw hats of varying sizes, is really something, but all the tunes are great: Valentine, Rhythm of the Rain, Au Revoir l'Amour and You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth. This was Chevalier's last Hollywood musical until Gigi, 23 years later.
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