A witty journey through the history of Paris told to a group of students by Sacha Guitry, from its foundation at the time of Caesar to 1955. Among others you will meet King Charles VII ... See full summary »
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A witty journey through the history of Paris told to a group of students by Sacha Guitry, from its foundation at the time of Caesar to 1955. Among others you will meet King Charles VII making Agnès Sorel his mistress; you will witness the creation of printing spurred on by King Louis XI; share the life in the Louvres Palace at the time of King François Ier; spend the last night before St Bartholomew's massacre; be horrified by the murder of Henri III by a fanatical monk, watch the abjuration of protestantism by King Henri IV; try to resolve the Man in the Iron Mask enigma; take part in the storming of the Bastille, be present at the execution of King Louis XVI and at the trial of Queen Marie-Antoinette; participate in the Paris Commune, take sides in the Dreyfus affair. Written by
Sacha Guitry made several historical mistakes. For example, when King Charles VII meets Agnès Sorel and makes her his mistress she tells him the year is 1432, which is impossible since in that very year she was only ten. See more »
Is this a great movie as movie historians speak of great movies, another Les règles du jeu? No. Is it enjoyable to watch - and watch again? Yes, very much so. As the other reviewer says, it is a very impressionistic presentation of many of the memorable moments in Paris history, often done quite quickly. Some of the dialog is wonderful. (It's no surprise that the Parisian Guitry most admires is Voltaire, whom he presents as the creator of French esprit.) My copy doesn't have English subtitles, and I don't know if such a version exists. They would have to be very good indeed to capture the wit of the original French.
What anyone can enjoy, however, without understanding a word of what is said, is the incredible series of remarkably beautiful women. It is as if Guitry convinced every beautiful actress in France to do a cameo in this movie. And there is not a dumb one in the group. They all deliver their lines with éclat.
Often, I suspect, if you don't know something about French history, there won't be enough in this movie to explain some of the incidents to you. It was clearly made for a French audience who would know who all these people were without requiring detailed explanations.
A nice way to spend 2 hours.
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