“I said ‘strange’? How strange!”
A botanist (Michel Simon) with a secret identity as famed crime novelist “Felix Chapel” goes undercover with his class-conscious wife (Francoise Rosay) when his sanctimonious cousin, Bishop Soper (Louis Jouvet), accuses him of spousal homicide; meanwhile, a serial killer (Jean-Louis Barrault) vows to murder Chapel in revenge for provoking his baser nature.
- Black Comedy
- French Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Murder Mystery
Director Marcel Carne — best-known for his luminous wartime epic Les Enfants du Paradis (1945) — made more than 20 films in his lifetime, yet only a few (such as Le Jour se Leve and Le Quai de Brumes) are well-known to American audiences. Carne’s Bizarre, Bizarre (literally “Strange, Strange”) is an elaborate farce premised upon mistaken identities, calculated murder, and a generous skewering of class relations; it won’t appeal to all tastes, but its cast of esteemed French actors are all in prime comedic form, with hangdog-actor Michel Simon well-cast in the lead (double) role, and Jean-Louis Barrault (star of Les Enfants…) having fun with a radically different persona. Also known as Drole de Drame, ou L’etrange Aventure de Docteur Molyneux.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Michel Simon as Molyneux, a.k.a. “Felix Chapel”
- Louis Jouvet as Molyneux’s self-righteous cousin, Bishop Soper
- Jean-Louis Barrault as William Kramps, the “butcher murderer”
- Several truly “bizarre” images and sequences
No, but it’s recommended.