At the Café Parisian during the can-can era, a young man, naïve but enthusiastic, arrives from Peru with two valises of money. He's immediately smitten by a lovely glove seller, who already receives attentions from a baron. The baron has additional admirers, including a florist whose beauty rivals that of the glover. Through dance, the lovers vie for each other's attention and affection while everyone can can-can. Written by
Ironic that the Gay Parisian (1941) would be paired with The Maltese Falcon (1941) on DVD, with the director Negulesco's first film directorial assignment being The Maltese Falcon. Previously working as a second unit director on loan to Warner Brothers, Negulesco signed a contract, in 1940 until 1948, to direct short features. Between 1941 and 1944, Negulesco turned out a staple of shorts, generally of a musical nature and often featuring popular big bands, like those of Joe Reichman, Freddy Martin and Jan Garber. His first feature film directing assignment was The Maltese Falcon, replaced after two months with John Huston, coincidentally Huston's first directing job! John Huston had written the screen play adaption, with back room politicking, replacing Negulesco. See more »
There's considerable color, lots of energy, and the grins of the dancers tell us that we are supposed to think that this production is absolutely delightful. But the choreographer and dancers don't display sufficient technical virtuosity to off-set the almost complete lack of an actual story here. Imagine a second- or third-rate '40s musical, eliminate the singing, and replace the movie make-up with that appropriate to live theater, and you'll have a rough idea of what this film is like. Danny Kaye would have been expected to move with more precision than does Leonide Massine; the nameless dancers for MGM would have been expected to be better synchronized than are the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. While I'm sure that, with a run-time of 20 minutes, a more tiring film *could* be made, I'm not sure than one *has* been made.
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