Man About Town

  • 1947
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy

This light, frothy farce marked the return of Chevalier to the screen after seven years and was Clair's first French movie after a dozen years. Although the picture took some awards (Grand Prize at Brussels and the Critic's Circle Award at Locarno), it wasn't all that good and surely fell far below the standard of Clair's best works. Shot at the Joinville...read more

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This light, frothy farce marked the return of Chevalier to the screen after seven years and was Clair's first French movie after a dozen years. Although the picture took some awards (Grand Prize at Brussels and the Critic's Circle Award at Locarno), it wasn't all that good and surely fell

far below the standard of Clair's best works. Shot at the Joinville Studios in Paris, MAN ABOUT TOWN uses Chevalier's narration to bridge story gaps, with clunky results. It's 1906 in Paris. Derrien, a naive country girl, comes to town to find her missing father, an actor. In order to locate him

she asks for help from 60ish producer-director Chevalier, who had once courted her mother. Derrien learns that her dad is on the road in a show so she decides to stay in Paris and await his return. Chevalier offers her the opportunity to observe his work in the new film medium and asks if she'd

like to play in his latest effort. She agrees to do that and Chevalier, upon noting the crew's lust, warns them to stay away from this naif. When the crew obeys Chevalier's command, Derrien is perplexed because she usually has to fend men off. That bewilderment turns to tears when she feels that

no one loves her. Chevalier, by this time, has fallen for Derrien, but he cannot bring himself to voice that. Later, Derrien meets Perier, a handsome young actor. He is also taken with her but doesn't know how to handle the situation, so he asks Chevalier for his advice. Chevalier is now in a

Cyrano position as he aids Perier but still can't tell Derrien how he feels. Meanwhile, he is professionally puzzled, being unable to come up with an ending for the film he is shooting. When Derrien confesses that she loves Perier, Chevalier realizes he must step aside for youth and that also

gives him the idea for his film's ending, as he rewrites it so the hero, not the villain, gets the girl at the fadeout. There's only one song in the film, "Place Pigalle," and the plot would surely have been aided by music, but they chose to make it a straight comedy and it barely succeeds on that

level. The most fun is had in the film's burlesque of the fledgling film industry and its several Gallic equivalents of the Keystone Studios crowd. (In French; English commentary.)

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This light, frothy farce marked the return of Chevalier to the screen after seven years and was Clair's first French movie after a dozen years. Although the picture took some awards (Grand Prize at Brussels and the Critic's Circle Award at Locarno), it was… (more)

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