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Gabrielle (Helene Hallier), an ambitious but innocent would-be young chorine, trumps a music hall publicity stunt to become the new Parisian nightclub Cinderella. But this lighter-than-champagne-bubbles story is only a pretext for LA REVUE DES REVUES's white-hot, non-stop procession of outrageously and scantily attired exotic dancers, showgirls, and acrobats including the TillerÂ¹s Follies Girls, Ruth Zackey and the Hoffmann Girls, and danseuse russe Lila Nikolska. But it's Josephine Baker, "the high priestess of primitivism" (J. Hoberman Village Voice), who triumphs in two show stopping numbers in which "her clownish backfield-in-motion Charleston shimmy is unlike anything else in the movie and perhaps unlike anything anyone ever did." Written by
This German Count has always boasted of, besides his dissipated and idle life, how transgressive the cinema pioneers could be when they took bold risks and that those talkies you liked so much are not original at all in comparison with the silent films. Here is a great example, "La Revue Des Revues," a perfect illustration of your grandfathers' boldness because this film is a silent musical.
Obviously, such directors ignored the customary rules and recognized no barriers to their art.
It's a simple story: a dressmaker becomes a Parisian music-hall star when she wins a bizarre contest, a kind of "Cinderella" reinterpretation in which the organizers are trying to find a girl with France's smallest feet (MEIN GOTT!!!... another incredible transgression and now with one of the most popular classic stories! We will not, however, take the time here to discuss aristocratic fetishism). This flimsy premise provides a perfect excuse to display a kind of collection of the greatest musical numbers being done during that year at the most important and emblematic Parisian theaters as the "Moulin Rouge", the "Folies Bergere" or the "Palace". These musical sequences are beautifully colored in a film restoration sponsored by "ARTE". We see, among "Art Decó" lavish settings, acrobats and many chorus-girls who wear magnificent and impossible motley and feather dresses. Standing out from all the others is the famous Josephine Baker who stars in two musical numbers.
Alas though, there are too many musical numbers which makes the film slow and overlong. The director does not seem totally in control and the performances are lifeless.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count is remembering his early life and wants to dance a Charleston.
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