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Aspiring actress Louise Muban attends the prestigious Paris School of Drama during the day and works at a dreary factory assembling gas meters at night. She daydreams and "acts" her way through life, and her fellow students at school begin to suspect her stories are just that - fabrications. After Louise begins to weave an actual meeting with a debonair playboy into a fantasy of club dates and romance, her co-student Nana discovers the lie when she too meets the playboy. Nana sets a trap for Louise, and the result is an end to one fantasy and the realization of another. Written by
It seems like I am the big meanie with this review. While several others were also not in love with this film, my views are the most negative. This film, despite its budget and MGM luster just didn't do much for me--mostly because the central character was rather tough to like.
Luise Rainer played, or shall I say "over-played" the role of a young student in film school who works late at night to pay for schooling AND has an over-active imagination (i.e., she likes to lie a lot). One reviewer who loved this film (whitedudekickin) loved Ms. Rainer for exactly the same reasons I disliked her. He said that she was "...almost like a silent screen star with her exaggerated facial expressions". I just couldn't help but feel that the character she played wasn't real in any sense--like Rainer was pretending to be a young star-to-be instead of a real person. For example, when she talked to people, she tended to stare off in space and talk in a very detached way--like she was trying out for a play with each conversation. This performance was much more affected even than Garbo in CAMILLE. I would have MUCH preferred she acted more like a real person.
An aspect of Rainer's character that was tough to take was that he was a habitual liar. Now had she panicked and lied (thus triggering a funny series of events), this could have worked. But Rainer lies throughout the film and yet the film wants the viewer to care about this lady. While Paulette Goddard's hard-as-nails character comes off as vicious, most of the time she is attacking Rainer, it is well-deserved--she IS a liar. Yet, time and again, the film rescues and rewards the waif-like Rainer from the quagmire created by her own lies. A great object lesson for the audience, huh?! As for the other actors, most actually did very well. Henry Stephenson is his usual affable self, Blossom Rock ('Grandmama' from "THE ADDAMS FAMILY" and also Jeanette MacDonald's real-life sister) has one of her best supporting performances and the ever-smooth Alan Marshal did so well as the handsome Marquis that you wonder why he didn't go on to stardom. But even with decent performances, they just couldn't make up for the film's inadequacies.
A film that is often annoying and hard to take--you may just find yourself turning it off when the film becomes too schmaltzy and over-played. Do yourself a favor--skip this one and try finding STAGE DOOR. It tackles pretty much the same subject matter but in a much more enjoyable and realistic manner.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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