This is a true gem of the cinema, featuring some hilarious dark comedy and unique filmmaking techniques that would set the tone for motion pictures to come. Sacha Guitry had an unrivaled charisma that makes this film feel like it came from a whole other world of pure cinema.
The more I watch and rewatch Guitry, the more I love him. I think he is the most sophisticated director, with a incomparable finesse of the text and a lightness of mise en scène turning the french naturalism (like Marcel Pagnol) into another thing. And of course, how can not mention the acknowledgment of actors and production in beginning of the every film, showing the unmatched love and gratitude of him.
I had a decidedly mixed reaction. I can see why Truffaut would have loved this film. I thought the script was droll and extremely witty. And the camera work has moments of real joie de vivre. But I felt the whole technique of constant narration was kind of suffocating. It was hard to become really involved when what we're seeing is exactly what the narrator is describing. "Never use two violins, when one is enough."
Proto-New Wave, with narrated credits, incorporated stock footage, and some unconventional camera work. The lone-voice narration took some getting used to, but I don't think I'd have enjoyed the film much otherwise. It kinda felt like a silent film, watching the actors do their thing without actually hearing them. Favorite Guitry film so far.
In this light, witty comedy a retired scoundrel recounts the story of his misspent, but highly amusing and adventurous, life. Except for a few scenes with synchronized sound, the movie is silent with voice-over narration by central character, "the cheat", played by the film's writer/director. A thoroughly enjoyable film, very similar in theme and tone to another movie I love, Ernst Lubitsch's "Trouble in Paradise".