An impoverished artist discovers he has purchased a winning lottery ticket at the very moment his creditors come to collect. The only problem is, the ticket is in the pocket of his coat. . . which he left at his girlfriend’s apartment. . . who gave the coat to a man hiding from the police. . . who sells the coat to an opera singer who uses it during a performance. By turns charming and inventive, René Clair’s lyrical masterpiece had a profound impact on not only the Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin, but on the American musical as a whole. —The Criterion Collection
Born under the name of René Chomette in 1898, René Clair René Clair started life as a journalist and then turned to the cinema in 1920. At first an actor and assistant director, he started making films with Paris qui dort and Entr’acte (1924), a pearl of the surrealist cinema.
Commercial success and critical acclaim came with the brilliant farce comedy, An Italian Straw Hat (1927) followed by his famous early musical talkies, Le Million (1931) and A nous la liberté (1932). He continued his career in Hollywood during the war and came back to France to make the films of his mature years, Le Silence est d’or (1947) et Les Grandes manœuvres (1955). René Clair was elected to the Académie Française in 1960 and died in 1981. —Octuor de France
His reputation may have faded over the years but there's no doubt that René Clair was one of the most innovative director's in the early days of talking pictures. This charming film is a case in point. Released the same year as another of his great films, À Nous La Liberté, the story is of a struggling artist being hounded by his many creditors. He wins the lottery but where's that pesky winning ticket?! Marvellous..
Amazing, innovative, musical, magical, refreshing. The sequence where Michel and Béatrice sit on stage, hidden behind the decor as the opera singers both narrate and inform their interactions, is a mini-movie masterpiece in itself.
A look at some of the best original French posters for the films in Film Forum’s current series: The French Old Wave.
A look at the 1920s and 30s French posters of Jean Adrien Mercier, “the prince of affichistes.”
Tracing Bresson’s audio-visual sensibility back to the formally-ambitious film comedies of the early 1930s.
This restless phantasmagoria is fond, melancholy and not quite serene.