7.3/10
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4 user 1 critic

Le mystère de la tour Eiffel (1928)

One of two circus twins is cheated of an inheritance by his double, who sets himself up in a chateau.Only to be threatened by a sinister black hooded sect. Rollicking adventures follow, culminating with a big chase on the Eiffel Tower.

Director:

Julien Duvivier

Writers:

Alfred Machard (screenplay), Alfred Machard (story)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Tramel ... Les frères Mironton
Régine Bouet Régine Bouet ... Sylvanie
Gaston Jacquet ... Sir William Dewitt
Jimmy Gaillard ... Réginald (as Jimay)
Andrée Reynis Andrée Reynis
Jean Diéner Jean Diéner
François Viguier François Viguier ... (as Viguier)
Roger Piquard Roger Piquard
Pierre Hot Pierre Hot
Darska Darska ... (as Mme. Darska)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Valentine Bordie Valentine Bordie
Bouzique Bouzique
Roma d'Esparbès Roma d'Esparbès
Raymond Gardanne Raymond Gardanne
Lesueur Lesueur
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Storyline

One of two circus twins is cheated of an inheritance by his double, who sets himself up in a chateau.Only to be threatened by a sinister black hooded sect. Rollicking adventures follow, culminating with a big chase on the Eiffel Tower.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

User Reviews

 
The Evolution of the Thriller
28 November 2016 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

It's not a particularly Duvivier-like piece. Without going into detail about the plot, it's easiest to understand it in the context of the growth of the thriller in this era, from writers like Buchan to Oppenheimer to Greene and film makers like Feuillade and Lang, to Hitchcock. It has the typically melodramatic, rococo menace of the earlier workers, including an evil organization (in the Dutch titles and their English translation, "The Knights of the Ku-Klux-Eiffel" in black-and-white robes with pointy hoods), combined with a little mustachioed man (Tramel, who prospered more in sound films, taking the lead in the sound version of Crainquebill), ending in the big set-piece ending atop the Eiffel Tower, reminding me most strongly of the ending of The Naked City.

I trust that my hitting these points shows its relationship to other, better-known thrillers. It is on the issue of pacing that it falls down. There are numerous chase sequences, most of which seem to run interminably. It is only with the final chase atop the Eiffel Tower that it becomes clear that these other chases are shot and timed to that final chase, with the deliberate pace of the cog railroad on the tower and the tiring, slowing clambering of the villain up the girders. The structure of the plot is not advancement or retreat, it is recapitulation, like THE BIRDS, or even THE EVIL DEAD. By the end, even the beautifully shot final confrontation was mildly wearisome, and the ending seems more like a baseball game called on account of rain, rather than a winning run.

Duvivier would return to these issues, with better writing (Simenon) and a structure that more effectively showed the inevitability of fate. By the time he was working with Jean Gabin, he had a protagonist who knew his fate and struggled in vain against it. Tramel is more a comedy character stuck in a serious world, the inverse of Buster Keaton. He triumphs because that's the way these things work out, not through any virtue of his own, not even stubbornness. By the time the final chase ends with the villain losing his grasp of the girders like Norman Lloyd's fraying coat, it's a conclusion like the Great War: exhaustion.

Perhaps this was the point of the movie. If so, the characters seem blithely unaware of it. It may be valid, but in a world of unending recapitulation, it will all have to be done again later.


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Details

Country:

France

Language:

None | French

Release Date:

6 January 1928 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

El misterio de la torre Eiffel See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Le Film d'Art See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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