“Did you get the ticket?”
A penniless artist (Rene Lefevre) caught flirting with his client (Vanda Greville) is excited to learn from his friend (Louis Allibert) that one of them has won the lottery, but is quickly dismayed to learn that his fiancee (Annabella) has given Lefevre’s coat — which contains the winning ticket — to a thief (Paul Ollivier), who in turn has sold it to a pompous opera singer (Constantin Siroesco). Can the jacket — and the ticket — be found, and Lefevre’s romance with Annabella salvaged?
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “famous early musical” by Rene Clair — centered on a “mad scramble to retrieve [Lefevre’s] jacket from, first, a police fugitive and, later, an opera singer who’s giving his last performance before going on tour” — mixes “farce, slapstick, and Gilbert and Sullivan”; but he argues that while Clair “neatly sets up his gags, they don’t really deliver”, and that “this classic has lost a lot of its freshness.” He points out that the “major problem is obvious – the characters aren’t very funny”. However, he concedes that the “film benefits from Clair’s innovative use of sound and music, as well as his decision to again use Lazare Meerson as his set designer and Georges Perinal as his cinematographer.” I’m more or less in agreement with Peary’s assessment, though I believe the film is innovative enough in its presentation, style, and storyline to merit a must-see look. While we certainly don’t care much about these characters (other than poor Annabella, who has terrible taste in men) and the collective singing is a bit forced, it’s undeniably clever how Clair and his team manage to set up a fast-paced, madcap race for a jacket that’s slippier than black ice; you can’t help feeling viscerably pulled to the beaten-up jacket as you see it hanging on hooks, being torn apart, and landing on top of an unsuspecting taxi cab, all the while knowing that it’s actually the tiny slip of paper inside that’s really desired (will it be there?).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Luminous cinematography and sets
- Nicely choreographed comedic sequences
Yes, once, for its historical relevance as an innovative early talkie-musical.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)