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Celestine, the chamber-maid, has a new job in the country, at the Lanlaires. She has decided to use her beauty to seduce a wealthy man, but Mr. Lanlaire is not a right choice: the house is firmly controlled by Madame Lanlaire, helped by the strange valet Joseph. Then she tries the neighbour, former officer Mauger. This seems to work. But soon the son of the Lanlaires comes back. He is young, attractive and does not share his mother's antirepublican opinions. So Celestine's beauty attracts Captain Mauger, young Georges Lanlaire, and Joseph. Three men, from three different social classes, with three different conceptions of life. Will Celestine be able to convince Georges of her sincerity? Will sinister and inflexible Joseph let his views on Celestine be ruined? A quite disillusioned depiction of humanity. Written by
Chambermaid Paulette Goddard (Celestine) and the feeble, irritating Irene Ryan (Louise) arrive at the stately home in which they are to serve. They first meet the rather unpleasant valet, Frances Lederer (Joseph) before being introduced to Reginald Owen (Captain Lanlaire) and his wife Judith Anderson (Madame Lanlaire), who have an ill son, Hurd Hatfield (George). It becomes clear that it is Goddard's role to make his life better. Can she succeed....?
Paulette Goddard, Frances Lederer and Judith Anderson carry the film in terms of having a good cast but I'm afraid that's it. The film suffers by having too many buffoons - virtually everybody else. While Reginald Owen is OK as a bumbling old man, one is enough for any film. Unfortunately, we are also given Burgess Meredith as an extremely annoying old codger of a neighbour - he must be the most annoying character EVER. He constantly jumps and bounces around just like all old people do - you get my drift? He is so unconvincing that it's embarrassing. He is meant to be a likable, cheeky chappy. He isn't. Frances Lederer has a great moment with him towards the end of the film. Marvelous!
Frances Lederer keeps the tension ticking and is very watchable as the valet with something sinister going on in his head. The plot is good and keeps us watching as to how things will pan out for Goddard. Time to check the silverware.
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