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Max de Mirecourt, celebrated French novelist, takes a vacation from his social-butterfly wife in Tunisia, where he meets beautiful Alwina, a barefoot hill shepherdess. To cure his writer's block, Max casts Alwina as heroine in a real-life 'Pygmalion' story. She reacts to civilized ways and emotions with charming simplicity. Now Max, stung by reports of his wife's affair with a dark-skinned maharajah, has the idea of launching Alwina in Paris society as a princess. Will civilization spoil her wild charms? Who will pair off with whom? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
An advertising poster for this film is pictured on one stamp of a set of five 42¢ USA commemorative postage stamps honoring Vintage Black Cinema, issued 16 July 2008. Other films honored in this set are Black and Tan (1929), The Sport of the Gods (1921), Caldonia (1945), and Hallelujah (1929). See more »
The key to fully enjoying this film is to forget for a few minutes that it's a vehicle for Josephine Baker, and view it as a French version of a screwball comedy. Apart from the grafted-on Pygmalion theme, the script is really about war between husband and wife.
From that perspective it's really as good as than many similar films produced by Hollywood during the same era. The viewer can then have fun comparing the Gallic take on the theme with the American and English approaches.
The production dance number is clearly an imitation of Busby Berkeley, and nowhere near as lavish. But enjoyable enough in its own rights. Again, the fun is in comparing the French choreographer's way of doing things with Berkeley. And ... think about it for a minute ... did French chorus lines at that (or any) time really have tap dancing?
Then go back to thinking about Josephine Baker. It's a shame she didn't get to dance more, but the dance to Sous Le Ciel and the Samba in the final number were quite good.
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