Shortly after being demobilized, Georges Duroy becomes aware of his power over women in the arms of Rachel, a young singer. Thanks to his good looks and his charming manners and his ... See full summary »
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Shortly after being demobilized, Georges Duroy becomes aware of his power over women in the arms of Rachel, a young singer. Thanks to his good looks and his charming manners and his unabashed cynicism he will rapidly rise to the top by courtesy of women women (Mme Walter, Clotilde, Madeleine), from journalist to member of Parliament to cabinet minister. But it is also the fair sex that will cause his fall in the end. Written by
Even at the height of the Third Reich, the name of Willi Forst - star and director of this literary adaptation - stood for a certain ironic detachment and class, and this witty, pacey film doesn't disappoint. The story of how a journalist claws his way to the top while bedding a whole row of society ladies might, one would have thought, have struck a resonance with Goebbels, who as film minister had the opportunity to ban it if he wished - but apparently he wasn't blessed with sufficient self-consciousness to recognise the implied dig. Even if its contemporary satirical intent is perhaps overstated, the film is a real pleasure to watch - most notably for poor Lizzi Waldmueller, who was killed by shellfire towards the end of World War Two and who here sings the film's catchy theme 'You have luck with the girls, Bel Ami' surrounded by a bevy of cartwheeling can-can dancers. Good too (as always) is Hilde Hildebrandt as one of Duroy's society lovers.
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