Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the title, love the film, October 2, 2004
This review is from: M. Hulot's Holiday (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
According to the 1990 US Census, Hulett is the #5444th most common surname in America. Hulot is a French spelling of this European surname. You can understand my appreciation for the title. The name just doesn't come up that often.

Fortunately this charming bit of humor hits me right where I live too. The comparison is easy to make between Tati's style to those of classic clowns like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Jerry Lewis, Red Skelton, and Rowan Atkinson's "Mr. Bean."

In this famous film, which was nominated for two Oscars and won top prize at Cannes, M. Hulot arrives at a beach resort populated with a wide variety of characters, including a retired military man, a couple of innocent and charming toddlers, a middle-aged couple who are forever strolling, and a tremendously gorgeous blonde lady with Princess Leia hair. The entire plot involves M. Hulot's attempts to take part in the various activities provided here for his vacation.

Marvelous sight gags include a diner unwittingly wiping his mouth on M. Hulot's sleeve, a photographer mistakenly taken for a peeping Tom, a bucket of paint that seems to miraculously have a mind of its own, a deflating wreath of flowers at a funeral, M. Hulot managing to unknowingly ruin two card games while hunting for his ping pong ball, and many, many, many other moments that run the gamut from sweetness to outright hilarity. My favorite sound gag is the door to the dining room, which seems somewhat akin to a tennis ball being bounced on a bongo drum. (Yes, I guess you had to be there.....so see the film!)

This DVD allows one the option of watching an English version, which I recommend. Although there is very little dialogue, with the humor mainly being visual and sound effects, the subtitles are intrusive, and unless you are familiar with the French language it's just more comfortable to hear the few lines of dialogue being spoken in English, which makes for a less jarring experience for us single-language cretins.

Overall the experience is only slightly dated, considering that this film is about 50 years old as I type this, and it's not something a restless young person could much appreciate. Unlike much of what the movie world has turned out over the past couple of decades, this bears repeated watching, as there's so much you'll miss the first time, so a DVD is a good investment here. You'll want to spend your time viewing, also, as obviously you won't get much from just listening if you have to leave the screen for a moment. Well worth your time and hard-earned cash.
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