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A Parisian sewer worker longs for a rise in status and a beautiful wife. He rescues a girl from the police, lives with her in a barren flat on the seventh floor, and then marches away to war. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Chico, a sewer worker in Paris rescues Diane, a prostitute, from the police. He not only offers his protection, but also his unending love. Diane, who up to that point had been abused by many people, suddenly realizes the love she receives from Chico lifts her from a dreary existence and helps her find her own voice.
Alas, war intervenes at the time the couple decides to get married. Chico, an avowed atheist, invents his own wedding vows as he and Diane exchange chains to wear around their necks instead of the customary ring. Both make a promise to chant their names and pretend they are in heaven at 11am each day. The ritual keeps them hoping for an eventual happy life together in peaceful times.
This 1937 release directed by Henry King, is seldom seen these days. The basic reason for watching it again is the sweet presence of Simone Simon and James Stewart. These two actors contributed to make the film much better than it should have been if played by others. Ms. Simon, one of the most beautiful faces in the French cinema, had a wonderful screen presence that works well opposite to the young and disarming James Stewart, at one of the best points of his budding career.
Others in the cast included Jean Hersholt, who appears as the priest that tries to convert Chico. This is the same actor whose name is synonymous with worthwhile causes within the film industry and who died much to young to continue his humanitarian work. Also, Gregory Ratoff, Gale Sondergaard, Sig Ruman and J. Edward Bromberg and the rest do great work in the film.
The copy shown on cable was not exactly the best, but as in other memorable films, what matters is the story and the great performances that Henry King got from everyone.
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