Michel, a Parisian artist, is being hounded by numerous impatient creditors. To make things worse, when he is embracing the woman whose portrait he is painting, he is surprised by his indignant fiancée Béatrice. Suddenly, Michel learns that he holds the winning ticket in the Dutch Lottery. But when he goes to retrieve the ticket from the pocket of his jacket, he finds that Béatrice has given the jacket to a stranger who was in need. Now everyone has a keen interest in finding that jacket.Written by
The French director Rene Clair, who is often forgotten when the great pioneers of film technique are mentioned, made this innovative film in 1931 in the very early days of sound films. The delightful mix of silent-movie style slapstick, spoken and sung dialogue, opera parody and song, moving camera and inter-cutting obviously influenced Rodgers and Hart and Rouben Mamoulian who a year later attempted the same sort of musical, "Love Me Tonight," with Chevalier at the Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Clair's unique genius is in his ability to twist reality and create a fairy-tale world. In this film he sustains his particular brand of magic from the first model shots of the roofs of Paris to last scenes backstage at the opera. Yes, the story is very silly and highly improbable, but the charm of it, the Parisian charm, is undeniable. Much credit must be given to the cinematographer, the great Georges Périnal who later worked in England and photographed many of the great Alexander Korda films.
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