Journeyman French director Marcel L'Herbier clearly had a penchant for the word 'bonheur' and employed it in two of his many films. First time round it was Le Bonheur in 1934 and then, just over a decade later he shot this, Au Petit bonheur, the film that brought the luminescent vedette Danielle Darrieux back to the screen after a three-year gap during the Occupation. Darrieux shared the screen - but not above-the-title billing - with two very solid French actors, Andre Luguet and Francois Perier, both completely unknown outside France but well respected within it, both, coincidentally, racking up 111 movies apiece. The plot is little more than a hook from which to suspend a delightful ninety minutes or so of sophistication, style and escapism. Darrieux and Perier are married, they quarrel, she storms out. Cue Luguet as the older roue', add Paulette Dubost to complicate things, simmer gently and voila. Bliss. This is one of those movies where a man feels undressed without a valet to dress him and exists in a world of Art Deco - think almost any of the Fred-and-Ginger films, Top Hat, Swingtime, etc. If ONLY we in the UK would take a leaf out of the French book and mount retrospectives of the likes of Darrieux, Michele Morgan, Edwige Feuilliere, Micheline Presle etc then quality ephemera like this would be available on a much larger scale.
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