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Wednesday, June 6, 2012


"Les Enfants du Paradis" has been magnificently restored so that a new generation can see one of the most remarkable films ever produced!  Directed by Marcel Carne and crediting Jacques Prevert as Screenwriter, this classic was created under  severely challenging conditions while World War II was still in progress.  (Read the wonderful review by Rene Rodriguez on to get the full back story as well as more of the plot.)  Suffice to say, it hit the big screen in 1945. Set in 19th Century Paris, it has just about everything in it. At 3 hours and 10 minutes it is a tour de force of melodrama, unrequited love,  back stage romance, beautiful women, and my favorite, a mesmerizing performance by a superb mime ("Batiste") white face makeup and all.   There are acrobats and dozens of tumblers shown performing in one theater, plus a scene from Shakespeare's Othello and the murder scene  where Desdamona gets it in the neck taking place across the road in another theater shown in this film all about show biz, and the folks who are in it, and the folks (as well as nobility) who watch it.  Thousands of extras were used in filming the street scenes of Paris. Those were the days (1800's) when affronts were matters requiring "satisfaction"  at dawn. (I'm happy to say the actual duels were never shown, only the results. )
Of course it's in French, with excellent sub-titles (clever dialogue, by the way.)
Because of the length of the movie, there was a welcome ten minute intermission after about two hours.

1 comment:

  1. Oooo, I have this in my DVD collection (in the lovely Criterion restoration that you saw) and your review makes me want to watch it again. It’s been many years since I last saw it. It’ll be after Solstice for sure, because the summer tidal wave is upon us here in Espanola