This is an interesting film set in Paris during the Montparnasse Era. The film was made at the time Montparnasse was still just about swinging in the 1930s. The action is set in the twenties, when there were still plenty of American artists like the character played by John Loder living in Paris, before the Americans left Paris in the aftermath of the financial crashes. The characters, episodes, behaviour and settings are more realistic and true to life than most films about that period in Paris because, after all, this still was that period in Paris. One only needs to compare this with Jacques Becker's film LES AMANTS DE MONTPARNASSE (THE LOVERS OF MONTPARNSSE),of 1958, to see how far Montparnasse had receded into unrealistic mythology 23 years after this 1935 film was made. Already by the fifties, the French themselves could not even make a realistic film about their own Montparnasse Era and portray Modigliani and Jeanne, or their milieu, properly. This film bears the director's credit of a German emigrant named Robert Wyler, but he appears only to have had the credit because of contractual commitments and it was the uncredited Carol Reed who really directed it. I don't know the background to all that, and we can only speculate, I suppose. This film was also the first feature film screenplay written by the young John Huston, aged only 29 at the time. It was based on a play entitled L'ARPETE by the French playwright and screen writer Yves Mirande (1875-1957). As a writer Mirande had 107 film credits, so he was very much a fixture of the cinema. In this same year, 1935, he wrote the dialogue for Josephine Baker's film PRINCESS TAM-TAM (1935). The previous year, he had jointly written the film LE ROI DES CHAMPS-ELYSEES (THE KING OF THE CHAMPS-ELYSEES, 1934) starring Buster Keaton. So he was very much a man of the moment (I have just made a pun, though you would not know it, for Mirande wrote a film of that title in this same year, 1935, starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., directed by Monty Banks, who later married Gracie Fields). This film thus had some good talents and a considerable amount of authenticity built in from the start. John Loder does a passable job playing the romantic lead, but the film's sparkle comes from the female romantic lead, played by Nancy Burne, then aged 23. Burne later died prematurely at the age of 41, and never appeared in a film after 1939, so she was nearing the end of her career without realizing it when she made this film. The story is a bit of fun, nothing to be taken too seriously. Everybody is hard up and starving for art's sake in Paris, and John Loder is pretending to be doing that as well, concealing the fact that he is the son of a millionaire. Burne sacrifices everything, being penniless, to buy him two tubes of emerald green paint so that he can complete his large painting of her lying asleep, called 'The Girl in Green', which years later Loder buys back from a Manhattan art gallery for $10,000, but was thought to be worth five francs at the time it was painted. Burne feels pretty burned when she eventually realizes that Loder had been fooling everyone and only pretending to be poor. He goes back to America shamed and exposed and resumes his life as a rich boy for a few years. A horrible society harridan is then about to nab him as a husband, but wait, can true love be saved at the last moment? Will he escape the claws of the horrible scheming woman and rediscover happiness with Burne? Can miracles happen? Watch and see.
It Happened in Paris
Comedy / Romance
It Happened in Paris
Comedy / Romance
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Paul, artistically-inclined son of an American millionaire, moves to Paris where he can find inspiration and study the masters. While there, he finds inspiration of a different sort in the form of the beautiful Jacqueline.
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Carol Reed's first film, a tale of Montparnasse
Some Sparkle, But ....
This romantic comedy about a rich young American who is trying to make a go at painting in Paris (John Loder) and a young woman who is trying to become a dress designer in the City of Lights (Nancy Burnes) owes whatever sparkle it possesses to its leading actors. Miss Burnes, in particular, is a bright and attractive screen presence whose career petered out four years afterward, while Loder wound up in Hollywood playing second leads.
Director Carol Reed, one of the great talents of the British film industry in the 1940s and 1950s can't do much with the script, which takes the plot twists and lets the audience in on them far too early. While the effect is not inept, it is not particularly interesting and is best viewed on a dull afternoon.
What happened in Paris? I'm still waiting.
The romantic team of John Loder and Nancy Burnes really have no chemistry in this so-called sophisticated comedy where they meet over a pair of ladies underwear, fight, declare their dislike each other and before you know it are calling each other darling. The opening scene with a pair of her panties flying out of the window and ending up on a innocent man's shoulder, tossed into a sewer and ending up with a cute monkey is the best moment of the film which focuses on a struggling artist (Loder) and a promising dress designer (Burnes) who I guess finally bury their differences in their shared experiences of struggling, and before you know it, they are sharing every romantic aspect of the city of lights.
When the shrill sounding Burnes brakes into a song that takes the camera outside of the room where a party is happening and flashes on different parts of the city, I could just imagine all the fast forwarding going on a viewers who couldn't take any more of it. She's attractive enough and he's quite handsome, but they are beyond generic in screen charisma. Of course, he's keeping a secret, not being as poor and struggling as she thought. I had high hopes for this as a sophisticated romantic comedy, and found alit deadly dull.