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  • The Italian Straw Hat (Un chapeau de paille d'Italie)
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The Italian Straw Hat (Un chapeau de paille d'Italie)


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The Italian Straw Hat (Un chapeau de paille d'Italie) + Under the Roofs of Paris (The Criterion Collection) + A Nous La Liberte (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Albert Prejean, Geymond Vital, Olga Tschechowa, Paul Ollivier
  • Directors: Rene Clair
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Flicker Alley
  • DVD Release Date: April 6, 2010
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00370ORH2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,029 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Italian Straw Hat (Un chapeau de paille d'Italie)" on IMDb

Special Features

Bonus materials include a short film by René Clair, La Tour (The Eiffel Tower) (1928) and Ferdinand Zecca’s Noce en Goguette (Fun After The Wedding) (1907), typical of the early films that inspired Clair. Lenny Borger and Iris Barry both provide essays in an enclosed booklet with musical score notes by Rodney Sauer. The complete 1851 play Un Chapeau de paille d’ Italie by Eugene Labiche and Marc Michel, here in an English translation of 1916 as The Leghorn Hat, is included as a DVD-ROM extra.

Editorial Reviews

Rene Clair s sparkling comedy of manners is a witty, delicate, inspired satire on propriety and behavior in the bourgeois mind-set. Transposing the action of the perennial stage farce from 1851 to a summer wedding day in 1895 the birth of cinema Clair recalls detail, costume and design captured by the first movies. The Italian Straw Hat Un Chapeau de paille d Italie triumphantly survives its 1927 journey from stage to screen; a dozen eccentric characters, superbly acted, try desperately to keep up appearances in the face of disaster, their attitudes, concerns and gestures exquisitely stylized under Clair s deft orchestration. The sets and costumes, too are a charming combination of the suffocating and the exact. A bridegroom is riding to his marriage when his horse eats a straw hat hanging on a branch while its owner, a married lady, enjoys a tryst behind the bush with her lover, a fierce hussar. She cannot go home without her hat, so the groom interlaces his wedding with an attempt to find madam a twin chapeau, launching a series of misunderstandings and embarrassments. The Italian Straw Hat has few cinematic equals and inspired Pauline Kael to observe " One of the funniest films ever made... so expertly timed and choreographed that farce becomes ballet." This is the only fully complete edition of The Italian Straw Hat ever available to American viewers. The film was mastered in high definition at 19 frames per second from the original 35mm negative used for the English release in 1930. As that version had been subjected to about twenty edits, all the missing pieces were restored from an original French print. Intertitles are in English, with optional subtitles of the original French text. There is a choice of two new accompaniments, one by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra and the other by pianist Philip Carli, each providing a unique interpretation on this delightful film. The bonus materials include a short film by Rene Clair, La Tour (The Eiffel Tower) (1928) and Ferdinand Zecca s Noce en Goguette (Fun After The Wedding) (1907), typical of the early films that inspired Clair. Lenny Borger and Iris Barry both provide essays in an enclosed booklet. The complete 1851 play Un Chapeau de paille d' Italie by Eugene Labiche and Marc Michel, here in an English translation of 1916 as The Leghorn Hat, is included as a DVD-ROM extra.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
A must for anyone interested in silent European cinema.
Chip Kaufmann
An instrument made especially to accompany silent films, namely a fotoplayer, is heard with this short film.
Barbara Underwood
Even more important, his films are still funny and meaningful to this day.
Wendy T. Merckel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Underwood on April 1, 2010
Format: DVD
After several outstanding releases by Flicker Alley in recent years, I had high expectations of this latest production by David Shepard, and once again I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by not only the film itself, but the choice of two outstanding musical scores along with a few nice bonus features. The renowned French filmmaker and director of this 1927 silent comedy, Rene Clair, earned his reputation as one of the greatest directors in the early 1930s already, but for many decades his earlier silent films have been overlooked; this farcical comedy being one of them. It is now considered one of Europe's most elegant and wittiest comedies ever made, and as a silent film enthusiast, I noticed other features worthy of mention as well. It impressed me that there were very few intertitles, especially compared to other movies made in 1927, which means that the story was carried along by the action and gestures of the performers in such a way as to make intertitles unnecessary most of the time. To me, this is one of the hallmarks of the perfectly-executed work of art that is the silent film. But the artistry of "The Italian Straw Hat" doesn't end here: the setting in France of 1895 appears beautifully authentic, with close attention to details in every respect, making it feel like an authentic glimpse back in time to that era.

Based on a popular stage comedy, Clair successfully adapted the gags and humour to the moving picture medium, at the same time adding his touch of European sophistication and style. Unlike vaudevillian slapstick, the comedy action in "The Italian Straw Hat" is more subtle, and the story itself is quite amusing on its own.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chip Kaufmann TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 7, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It may sound a bit odd to call a 1927 film a salute to early cinema but as silent film enthusiasts know, movies have been around since before the dawn of the 20th century. The earliest narrative films come from France in the movies of Alice Guy and Georges Melies ca. 1896 and it is those along with the films of French comedian Max Linder that Clair is channeling in THE ITALIAN STRAW HAT. The original source material is a play in the popular French farce style of domestic complications that date all the way back to Moliere. The year is 1895. A young man on his wedding day must replace a fashionable Italian straw hat which his horse has eaten or face serious consequences from a hot tempered Hussar (the hat belongs to his lover and she can't go home to her husband without it). The director takes this scenario and turns it into a sophisticated comedy of manners a la Oscar Wilde only it's done without dialogue (and very few title cards). While I found it a little too genteel and slow moving at times, THE ITALIAN STRAW HAT still remains a truly great film when you realize what Rene Clair was trying to do and how well he succeeded.

The only other version I had seen of this was an old but decent VHS copy that ran only 84 minutes. This version, at 105 minutes, is not only complete, but it adds little touches that make the film a richer experience. I was struck throughout at how much Albert Prejean (the groom) resembled Charley Chase. In fact this could have made a fine comedy vehicle for Charley. As is now expected of Flicker Alley, the transfer is first rate and the choice of two scores and an informative booklet enhance the presentation.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 20, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
"The Italian Straw Hat" (France, 1927)
Director Rene Clair apparently pioneered the "screwball comedy" genre with this feature-length silent, in which a nervous groom unwittingly finds himself in the middle of a romantic triangle, when his horse stops for a snack and eats the hat of a married woman off having a fling with a belligerent army officer... The officer badgers our hero into finding a replacement, which is all very well and fine... except that today is his wedding day, and the guests are all waiting for him to say "I do!" The first half of the film is a little hard to follow, but once it picks up steam, this film is a delight. My enjoyment of the movie was hampered somewhat by the horridly inappropriate soundtrack to the 1991 Connoiseur/Film Preserve edition, which was composed by Emilio Kauderer, and which was so awful and distracting that I had to watch the film with the sound off. Still, it turned out to be a fun movie. By the way, the best role in the film is clearly that of he groom's aggrieved, harried valet, who sees all the chaos unfold at every every turn -- watch for him!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aggie on November 23, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What a delightful movie. A must have. It depicts the everyday life of the French. You are drawn into their lives by the wonderful story, the superb acting and mis-en scene and of course, the fact that it is in black and white only adds to the emphasis of the whole atmosphere of the movie.
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