Chevalier starred in this, his fourth film for Paramount, as a goofy young waiter, recently fired by cafe owner Heggie for incompetence, who is unaware that he is about to inherit a large fortune. Upon learning that his former waiter is soon to be a rich man, Heggie rehires Chevalier,
signing him to a lengthy contract (which he is sure to want to buy back at any cost), and tries to steer the young man into a romance with his daughter, Dee. When Chevalier finds out about his fortune, he stays on and works as a waiter by day, just to spite his greedy boss. Jealous of his
nocturnal revelries throughout Paris accompanied by gold digger Christy, Dee follows Chevalier and gets involved in a fight with her rival. Chevalier breaks it up, but ends up offending nobleman Davidson who challenges him to a duel. The morning of the duel, Dee tells Davidson that Chevalier is
just a waiter, and the embarrassed nobleman calls the whole thing off. Chevalier, however, reinsults Davidson and demands the duel to go as planned. Desperate, Dee faints on the battlefield causing Chevalier to drop his gun and rush to her aid. It is then that he realizes that he loves her, and he
gives up defending his honor. PLAYBOY OF PARIS is no masterpiece and relies on hackneyed situations and contrived plot devices to advance the narrative. A happy exception to the norm for this film is a brilliant comedy scene wherein Chevalier finds himself in a wine cellar taste-testing various
barrels of wine as if he was judging a beauty contest. As he gets progressively drunker, his enthusiasm increases with each sip, until he caresses and kisses a cask of Burgundy, which gives him a loving gurgle in response. The moment is classic and in it Chevalier holds his own against Chaplin.
PLAYBOY OF PARIS was shot in French simultaneously with an all-French cast, and by all accounts it is the foreign language version which is superior. That either version was made was due to Chevalier's enthusiasm for Max Linder's 1920 silent feature LE PETIT CAFE. When the Frenchman was preparing
to put his signature on his first Paramount contract, he suggested that the studio remake the Linden film as his first U.S. project, and to keep Chevalier happy, the studio eventually secured the rights to the picture. Songs include: "My Ideal," "It's a Great Life If You Don't Weaken," "In The
Heart Of Old Paree," and "Yvonne's Song" (Richard A. Whiting, Newell Chase, Leo Robin).
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Chevalier starred in this, his fourth film for Paramount, as a goofy young waiter, recently fired by cafe owner Heggie for incompetence, who is unaware that he is about to inherit a large fortune. Upon learning that his former waiter is soon to be a rich m… (more)