Monday, June 29, 2009

A Gentleman of Paris

Herrasmies Pariisissa. US 1927. D: Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast. Story: dal racconto Bellamy the Magnificent di Roy Horniman; SC: Benjamin Glazer, Herman J. Mankiewicz, Chandler Sprague; DP: Harold Rosson; CAST: Adolphe Menjou (Marchese de Marignan), Shirley O’Hara (Jacqueline), Arlette Marchal (Yvonne Dufour), Ivy Harris (Henriette), Nicholas Soussanin (Joseph Talineau), Lawrence Grant (Generale Baron de Latour), William B. Davidson (Henri Dufour), Lorraine MacLean (ragazza del guardaroba); P: Jesse L. Lasky, Adolph Zukor per Paramount Famous Lasky; 35mm. 65’ From: LoC per concessione di Paramount. - Earphone commentary in Italian, grand piano: Antonio Coppola, viewed at Cinema Lumière 1, Bologna, 29 June 2009. - A print with several marks of nitrate decomposition in the source. - A brilliant sophisticated drama in the Ernst Lubitsch style, but in a somewhat darker mode. - The wealthy ladies' man, Marquis de Marignan, has one affair too many: with the wife of his endlessly resourceful servant Joseph Talineau. Joseph sets a trap for the famous gambler by putting to his sleeve a hidden card, which is later fatally exposed. - A fine sense of satire. - Unlike Lubitsch and Chaplin, d'Arrast portrays a world in which he belongs. - A fine sense of the visual: the scene where a woman hidden in de Marignan's apartment is revealed gradually via the leg, the hand, and the hair. - Menjou gives an account of the incident to Joseph via a pantomime, which is worthy of Chaplin.

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