Tag Archives: René Clair

René Clair – It Happened Tomorrow (1944)

Quote:
A newspaper obit writer, impatient to move ahead at his job, wishes he could know the news before it happens. One night, Old Pop Benson grants him that power, in the form of the next day’s newspaper. At first it only gets him in trouble, but also brings him closer to the pretty girl in a fortune-telling routine. By the third tomorrow’s paper, he’s sure he’s got this whole future business in the bag — reporting advance scoops, picking sure winners at the race track — when he reads a very final headline: the news of his own death. Read More »

René Clair – And Then There Were None (1945)

Synopsis:
Seven guests, a newly hired personal secretary and two staff are gathered for a weekend on an isolated island by the hosts the Owens who are delayed. At dinner a record is played and the host’s message alleges that all the people present are guilty of murder and suddenly the first of them is dead, then the next – It seems that one of them is the murderer but the leading person is always the person who is murdered next and at last only two people are left. Read More »

René Clair – Les fêtes galantes AKA The Lace Wars (1965)

Having lost a battle against the Prince of Beaulieu, Marechal d’Allenberg returns to his castle with his few remaining followers. As famine takes its toll, one of d’Allenberg’s men, Joli Coeur, sets off to look for food. The latter not only finds some pork, but he also saves the honour of a beautiful girl who was being attacked by some lustful brutes. On his return to the castle, Joli Coeur is surprised to see both the man who gave him the pork and the girl he rescued. The girl turns out to be d’Allenberg’s daughter, Hélène. Knowing that Joli Coeur would do everything for her, Hélène asks him to leave for a secret and dangerous mission. He must go back behind the enemy lines to look for Frédéric, the Prince of Beaulieu’s son, and ask him to stop the war… Read More »

René Clair – Sous les toits de Paris AKA Under the Roofs of Paris [+Extras] (1930)

“Criterion” wrote:
In René Clair’s irrepressibly romantic portrait of the crowded tenements of Paris, a street singer and a gangster vie for the love of a beautiful young woman. This witty exploration of love and human foibles, told primarily through song, captures the flamboyant atmosphere of the city with sophisticated visuals and groundbreaking use of the new technology of movie sound. An international sensation upon its release, Under the Roofs of Paris is an exhilarating celebration of filmmaking and one of France’s most beloved cinematic exports. Read More »

René Clair – Quatorze juillet AKA Bastille Day (1933)

Quote:
René Clair, the most distinguished of the French motion-picture directors, is one of the great men of the cinema. His triumphant photoplays, Sous les toits de Paris, Le Million and, the finest of them all, A nous la liberté, stand among the genuine classics of the films. Now M. Clair, who has tried cheerful sentiment in Sous les toits, farce in Le Million, and brilliant social satire in A nous la liberté, gives up some of his adventurousness and returns to the quiet romantic mood of his earliest success in the new work called Quatorze juillet (“Fourteenth of July”). Read More »

René Clair & Francis Picabia – Entr’acte (1924)

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Experimental and avant-garde offering from director René Clair that was produced by the French dance company Les Ballets Suis, and features the members mourning the loss of their star dancer, Borlin. Outrageously surreal and silly, it offers such sights as a funeral procession with the hearse being pulled by a camel and the dead occupant giving a final performance. Eric Satie (who is uncredited) composed the music and makes an appearance towards the end. Read More »

René Clair – À nous la liberté (1931)

One of the all-time great comedy classics, René Clair’s À Nous la Liberté is a skillful satire of the industrial revolution and the blind quest for wealth. Deftly integrating his signature musical-comedy technique with pointed social criticism, Clair tells the story of an escaped convict who becomes a wealthy industrialist. Unfortunately his past returns to upset his carefully laid plans. Featuring lighthearted wit, tremendous visual innovation, and masterful manipulation of sound, À Nous la Liberté is both a potent indictment of mechanized modern society and an uproarious comic delight.

Perhaps the most elegantly rendered feature film of the very early days of sound production (barring, perhaps, Chaplin’s CITY LIGHTS), Clair’s classic is such a seemingly effortless blend of romantic melancholy, bitter social criticism and gentle surrealism, that its many aesthetic qualities tend to overshadow the film’s astounding technological innovations in the poetics of sound. Read More »