Le Million (1931)
Genre: Musical Comedy (France)
Starring: René Lefèvre, Annabella (Napoléon)
Directed By: René Clair (A Nous La Liberté)
Overview: When an artist deep in debt finds out he's the winner of a million bucks, he rushes out to settle up with all those he owes money to, except that he can't seem to find the lottery ticket...
Acting: Frenchmen from the 30s are just as foppish as the ones from today. The thing about Fops though is that they are proud for a reason. These reasons include: being rich, coming from a long line of nobility (or revolutionaries if you're French), and being good at what you do. These actors are good enough at what they do to be fops, but not so good that they don't deserve a slap.
Cinematography: The running around and the minimal choreography (by Musicals standards) is really all you have to look forward to. The moustaches and top hats aside, the sets aren't that elaborate, the scenes aren't all that special, and there was a bit of the head cropping that I complained about in my last review. In one word: Blah.
Script: If you can't speak French, don't see this on tape. It's got the tragic 'sometimes-subtitling' of a film out of 1930. Some scenes only have the basic gist of what was said, which is perfect for French Canadians who have trouble hearing the language over the frog yammer and the white noise of the terrible recording, but the rest of you will find that reading white words overlaid across a white tablecloth is an exercise in annoyance. If you ARE French, then the story is passably decently told, big woop.
Plot: Allow me to take this opportunity to express how stupid it is for you to start a story knowing that everything ended well. I thought the "It was all a dream" thing was the worst of the bullshit plots but I guess I was wrong. The "It all ends well, just watch" is far worse. WHAT KIND OF MOVIE SPOILS ITSELF?! Utterly stupid! Is it me?!
Mood: I will admit that I laughed from time to time, and not simply because a bunch of French swine were going around begging to be made fun of. Still, having to turn off and get back to this film 4 times was a clear indication that I couldn't quite get into it. The sound quality and the washed-out muddy picture were distracting to the point of discomfort.
Overall Rating: 42% (Far, Far From a Million)
Aftertaste: There very rarely comes a time when I watch a film that I don't want to review. Sometimes I go out of my way to watch some ultra-obscure There very rarely comes a time when I watch a film that I don't want to review. Sometimes I go out of my way to watch some ultra-obscure kitsch, knowing it will be garbage, not only to become ever more elitist to the cinematic beast, but with the solid possibility that the review will be scathing. This was just an amazingly predictable film. It's not an annoying musical, it's just an annoying film. This review was a chore. I much rather would have forgotten this film that for some reason is considered a classic.