In Victorian London, the botanist Irwin Molyneux and his wife Margaret Molyneux are bankrupted but still keeping the appearance due to the successful crime novels written by Irwin under the pseudonym of Felix Chapel. Their cook has just left the family, when Irwin’s snoopy and hypocrite cousin Archibald Soper that is in campaign against the police stories of Felix Chapel invites himself to have dinner in Irwin’s house. Margaret decides to keep the farce of their social position secretly cooking the dinner, while the clumsy Irwin justifies her absence telling the bishop Soper that she had just traveled to the country to meet some friends. However Soper suspects of Irwin and calls the Scotland Yard, assuming that his cousin had poisoned his wife. Irwin and Margaret decide to hide the truth to avoid an exposition of their financial situation, moving to a low-budget hotel in the Chinese neighborhood, getting into trouble. —IMDb
Between 1936 and 1946, Marcel Carné was among the chief proponents of poetic realism, a studio-bound film style that combined theatrical themes with elaborate dialogues which depicted ordinary people attempting to contend with the unalterable nature of destiny. The shadowy fatalism of poetic realism presaged the more popular American film noir. Though the style was created by Jacques Feyder, with whom Carné apprenticed, it was Carné and poet/screenwriter Jacques Prévert who brought it to its full fruition with Enfants du Paradise (Children of Paradise) (1945), a work still considered one of France’s greatest films. Born and raised in Montmarte, Carné was originally slated to work for an insurance agency by his father, a cabinetmaker. Carné, however, was more interested in movies and secretly attended evening classes on cinematography with the Paris city council-sponsored Association Philomantique. Without telling his father, Carné left the agency in 1928 to work as an assistant cameraman… read more
With the quality of talent available both in front and behind the camera it was perhaps inevitable that this project would result in a very special, magnificent achievement. In only his second directorial assignment, Carné proves that he was an early learner with his handling of this brilliant London-set farce that is decorated with exceptional performances from a remarkable all-star cast, headed by the great Simon..