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From 1769 to 1821, Napoléon Bonaparte's life, loves and exceptional destiny but as seen through the eyes of Talleyrand, the cynic and ironic politician, who once was the Emperor of France's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The very last movie directed by Guitry :although it does not equal the next to last one ( "Assassins Et Voleurs "),it's a pleasant comedy and ,in its own modest way ,it is a meditation on the cinema .
Like Duvivier's "La Fete a Henriette" (1952),there's no story when the movie begins;we see the writer-director at his desk (as often in the past) ,writing the screenplay before us .The last pictures returns to him,speaking to the audience (or the readers) for the last time.
IT's a movie which deals with the connections between movies,novels (hints at Simenon,and the superintendent's wife (Pauline Carton) wishes her husband were Commissaire Maigret ,a fiction character)and reality :the small movie in the movie is supposed to help the police find the killer whereas this film was made by a director (Darry Cowl) filming (illegally) on location in the Streets .
It's a movie about appearances : two suspects ,two twins (the twins subject was already present in Guitry's masterpiece "La Vie D'Un Honnête Homme" ,masterfully played by Michel Simon,here cast as the superintendent.
It's another settling of scores with the establishment for a man who never forgot the way he was treated in the Liberation days;the captain is confused,and is neither Maigret nor Poirot: a hooker (Sophie Desmarets) proves herself smarter than the cops and has a real talent for observation.
It's a movie which ,in the late fifties,shows that a crime had already become banal in the media;the lady who dreams of Maigret would like a "sensational" crime, a true murder mystery;her husband will not even discover the criminal (a third lookalike);the two twins and their double -or should I write "triple"?-are played by the same actor,Philippe Nicaud.
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