7.1/10
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Holiday for Henrietta (1952)

La fête à Henriette (original title)
After the rejection of their latest - and preposterous - scenario, two script writers get back to basics to prepare a new movie. The new scenario centers on Henriette, a pretty, lively ... See full summary »

Director:

Julien Duvivier

Writers:

Julien Duvivier, Henri Jeanson (dialogue)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dany Robin ... Henriette
Michel Auclair ... Maurice / Marcel
Hildegard Knef ... Rita Solar (as Hildegarde Neff)
Louis Seigner ... Un scénariste / Script Writer (as Louis Seigner sociétaire de la Comédie Française)
Micheline Francey Micheline Francey ... Nicole / Script Girl
Henri Crémieux ... Un scénariste / Script Writer
Michel Roux Michel Roux ... Robert
Daniel Ivernel ... L'inspecteur de police Adrien Massar
Odette Laure Odette Laure ... Valentine
Jeannette Batti Jeannette Batti ... Gisèle
Paulette Dubost ... Virginie - la mère d'Henriette
Alexandre Rignault ... Le père d'Henriette
Claire Gérard Claire Gérard ... Charlotte
Jacques Eyser ... Un déménageur
Jean-Louis Le Goff Jean-Louis Le Goff ... Un déménageur (as J.L. Le Goff)
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Storyline

After the rejection of their latest - and preposterous - scenario, two script writers get back to basics to prepare a new movie. The new scenario centers on Henriette, a pretty, lively Parisian, and how she spends the 14th of July in Paris with her fiancé. We follow the tribulations of Henriette as various other characters make their entry in the story and turn a traditional festive day into something more adventurous than expected. Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@research.nokia.com>

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Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remade as Alex & Emma (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Sur le Pavé de Paris
Music by Georges Auric
Lyrics by Jacques Larue
Performed by Anny Flore
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User Reviews

the European film alive and kicking in 1952; US film struggling in 1964
2 June 2017 | by kekseksaSee all my reviews

It is rather shocking to find that (at the time of writing) there are only seven reviews of this film while there are some 69 reviews of the 1964 US remake, Paris When It Sizzles. This is a really charming film as well as being extremely interesting from a point of view of its narration (Duvivier following here in the footsteps of Sacha Guitry). The remake is, well, a Hollywood flop.

The fifties, between the great age of European film in the twenties and early thirties and the renewal of its traditions with the "new wave" movements of the sixties, was in some respects the time when US and European film traditions were at their most compatible. Since the advent of the talkies, compounded by the disaster of the war, US film-style might be said to have been triumphant, less so in Italy (neo-realismo and commedia all'Italiana) but distinctly so in Germany (whose cinema industry had been ruined by Hitler) and France (what the "new wave" would sneeeringly call "the cinéma de papa").

Yet, even at this low tide of European film, the comparison between these two films provides a useful gauge of the huge gulf that still divided European film (at its best) from the programmed mediocrity of Hollywood.

Quine's US film simply does not begin to comprehend the concept behind Duvivier's film. French wit is replaced by a distasteful vulgarity (just as the elegant score by Georges Auric is replaced by the muzack of Nelson Riddle). William Holden was at something of a lowpoint in his career but Audrey Hepburn (who had made Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961 and Charade in 1963 and would appear in My Fair Lady this same year) would have seemed an ideal casting. Noel Coward does a very camp comic turn and there is an array of stars (Curtis, Dietrich, Sinatra) playing cameos. But nothing can redeem the film.

The French film offers a multi-layered experience where different levels of "reality" are juxtaposed - the entertaining frame-story of the two scenarists, the provisional (and ultimately rejected) ideas for the film to be written (all in practice suggested by one scenarist), shown sharply angled on the screen and what may be the final film (all in practice the work of the other scenarist). From the censorship that has ruled out the original film (that scene with the bishop and the young girl) to the various sensational suggestions made my scenarist A to the final script as devised by scenarist B, there is satirical comedy on every level and some interesting insights into the way a film scenario is constructed. The elements of parody work well (with an excellent recurrent gag about problems of disposing of bodies). There is immense charm in every moment of the film.

What is more, the frame story remains the frame it should be and the film within the film is actually written, which symbolically receives its credits (missing at the beginning) at the end.

The US film is a falsely sentimental story about a middle-aged drunk using the writing of a scenario as a pretext for seducing a young secretary and her not very strenuous attempts to resist. The incidental "satire" (of avant-garde film-making, of "method" acting) is sour and hamfisted and the parody (westerns, horror, war films, musicals, crime) is crude and rudimentary. The film is as entirely charmless as a film with two such charming stars could be.

The frame story (not much of a story) becomes effectively the film (another in the sequence of Hepburn's romances with older men) and the film within the film (a very truncated version of the original filled out with typical sixties kitsch) becomes of little interest.

It is almost exactly as though the US director has watched the French film and deliberately decided to reject everything in it of value.... 1964 was not a good time for US film (but nor was 1952 for French film) but whereas Duvivier was still able to produce a fine intelligent film, Quine's effort merely emphasises how difficult the hidebound US industry was finding it in the sixties to review its practice in the light of new ideas or to compete with the revolution by then occurring in the European film industry.


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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

24 January 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Holiday for Henrietta See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmsonor, Regina Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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