Life story of a charming scoundrel, with little dialogue other than the star/director's witty narration. As a boy, only he survives a family tragedy when he's deprived of supper (poisonous ... See full summary »
Life story of a charming scoundrel, with little dialogue other than the star/director's witty narration. As a boy, only he survives a family tragedy when he's deprived of supper (poisonous mushrooms!) for stealing...concluding that dishonesty pays. Through years of dabbling in crime and amusing adventures, two women appear and reappear in his life, a dazzling blonde jewel thief and a stunning brunette gambler. Finally, he meets the mysterious Charbonnier who had saved his life in World War I, leading to the surprising next phase in his career... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This felt like a light comedy...without much comedy.
This is not my Sacha Guitry film and I know that back in the 1930s he was a sort of auteur--directing, writing and starring in a bunch of light comedies. So, I can compare this film to several of his others and see it comes up very short. The bottom line is that the film starts off with great promise but never really pays off--and at the end it just sort of fizzles.
"The Story of a Cheat" begins with Guitry sitting at an outdoor café and writing his memoirs. This ruse is used to enable him to narrate his life story for the audience. It starts off exceptionally well--with Guitry learning a lesson when very young that being bad pays off very well! This sort of tongue-in-cheek look at evil would have been great but the film never sustained this. Instead of being a true cheat, the leading man vacillated back and forth and there was never any sort of payoff for the audience. And, instead of the ending making sense of all this, it left me very cold. A clear misfire--mostly because the script needed work. Making the leading man a complete scoundrel would have improved it immensely--such as the way Terry-Thomas behaved in a few of his films such as "School for Scoundrels" or "Too Many Crooks".
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