Watching this film, which is essentially little more than filmed 'theatre' - French TV ran a series in the '80s which gave viewers at home an opportunity to experience the 'feel' of theatre - I was struck by how remote the theatre of Sacha Guitry must seem to a modern audience. It's remote even to me because I've never actually seen a Sacha Guitry 'boulevard' comedy in a theatre anywhere, let alone France, but that tends to be cancelled out by my knowledge of Guitry acquired out of interest in the theatre of several decades ago which in turn is supplemented by the several films both written/directed by and starring Guitry, who was much more 'experimental' in cinema than he was in the theatre that I've been able to see. This kind of high comedy would be recognized by Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward and it is redolent of an age when actors at Drama School learned how to shoot their cuffs, select, tamp and light a cigarette as effortlessly as they projected their voices whilst actresses earned brownie points for removing gloves with style and flair. All of these skills are in evidence here and the likes of Michel Roux - who provided the 'French' voice of Tony Curtis in The Persuaders - Genevieve Brunet, Bernard Alane, Katia Tchenko, Robert Manuel and Laurence Badie offer what amounts to a Masterclass in stage 'business' which renders the gossamer-thin plot superfluous. A stylistic gem.
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