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Screenplay based on Georges Feydeau's eponymous play.At the time ,Claude Autant-Lara was a rebel: sandwiched between "Le Diable Au Corps" and "L'Auberge Rouge" which displayed the director's hatred for the bourgeoisie,the army and the Church.Although "Amelie" is a farce,it's a fierce attack against marriage ,bourgeois hypocrisy and even military madness (the barracks is put in quarantine cause they all developed mumps).
Amelie is a Cocotte (=a tart);she trades on her charms,abetted by her father who plays a role generally delegated to mothers (Gremillon's "Gueule D'Amour" or Allégret's "Manèges" ).She is wooed by every Tom,Dick and Harry passing by.She's currently supported by a military man,courted by a foreign prince -who gives the equivalent of the French Legion D'Honneur to dad- ,and ,besides,she is to marry a young lad who covets his wealthy uncle's heritage: the necessary and sufficient condition for getting the dough is getting married.
Autant-Lara's adaptation is brilliant: there's a poster of the show on the wall of a theater where some of the scenes are played ,on stage or backstage (like Luis Bunuel would do in "Le Charme Discret De La Bourgeoisie ");the "audience" intervenes during the sequence of events ;And ,last but not least,there's a "advertisements interlude" ,as they could see one in the Belle Epoque days .
Danielle Darrieux shines as Amelie and Jean Dessailly is oddly cast against type.Acting is continuous overacting,which may repel some but which inspires the vital madness of the movie,which knows only one one tempo:accelerated.
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