Let Guitry take you down cause he's going to...Elysées fields ...where nothing is real (isn't it?)and nothing to get hung about ..
Champs Elysées forever!
This movie belongs to Guitry's historical movies ;such works include "les Perles de la Couronne " (1937) and the two magnus opus "Si Versailles M'Etait Conté "(1953) and "Si Paris Nous Etait Conté "(1955);there were three more movies but they were minor ("le Mot De Cambronne") or academic ("Napoleon" ).As for " De Jeanne D'Arc à Petain",made during the occupation days (1942) let's draw a veil over it,if only out of respect for the artist and let's remember his very first film "Ceux De Chez Nous " ,the true granddaddy of all Guitry's historical extravaganzas.
"Remontons les Champs Elysées " fills its quota of puns,gags and hilarious situations as well as useful "inventions ":the 2-person guillotine Marat is very interested in is not the least.
IT all began under Marie de Medicis's regency when Concini (a nasty Italian:why ,complains Guitry ,do French always choose treacherous aliens to rule ?)was the real master:les Champs Elysees were then just a large path through the wood where young Louis 13th ,sick and tired of his minister ,achieved a right and left:a boar and the infamous wop.
May this movie the director's claim for immortality?the story is told by a schoolteacher (Guitry who plays other parts)in front of his pupils :one of them is his own son,and he's the son of the kings ,of Napoleon and of the Republic !How Guitry succeeds in proving such a far-fetched story is his secret !A transparent metaphor for the French citizen as he is today?Or the artist's desire longing for immortality?
But Guitry has a darker side to him:the fear of death .One of the segments is revealing:a two-bit fortune teller told the king Louis 15th he would die six months after the marquis de Chauvelin ; so the monarch sends all his sawbones to the noble man to take care of his health ;he puts him on a diet because "if you die,my own days will be numbered".there's also this obsession of dying when you are 64: "when you are 20,and you know you're going to die when you're sixty-four,you've got plenty of time;but when you turn sixty-three ,you are not smiling anymore" .This obsession with death was even more obvious in the two final historical works :the best segment of "Si Versailles ...." deals with the final years of the Sun King,growing old along Madame De Maintenon;as for "Si Paris....",it shows many old people,among them Voltaire dying...
Guitry opened up in his movies: proof positive he was a genuine artist.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?