Under the Roofs of Paris
The Criterion Collection
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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.
- New digital transfer
- Deleted scene
- Clair's silent film Paris qui dort (1925)
- A 1966 BBC-TV interview with Clair
- New and improved English subtitle translation
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While Criterion DVD's are always the "Gold Standard" of classic cinema reproduction, this particular film appears to not be fully restored and the transfer print shows some wear, but this may be due to the lack of existence of a usable original negative or the original French printing elements that, after more than seventy years, have probably deteriorated.
The plot is somewhat incidental, but difficult to follow since it seems two near-identical men dressed in almost the same clothes are rolling dice to see who gets a girl. They are thwarted by a tough Parisian thief who looks uncannily like Basil Fawlty! But this does not really matter, just look at the sights and sounds of 1920s Paris, lovingly recreated in the film studio and see why Clair went on to become such a successful Hollywood director.
Here, Albert, played by Albert Préjean , a street singer, and Bill, a gangster played by Bill Bocket, vie for the love of Pola, played by Pola Illéry, a beautiful young Rumanian good time girl. This witty exploration of love and human foibles, told primarily through song, captures the contemporaneous flamboyant magical atmosphere of the City of Light with sophisticated visuals and groundbreaking use of new movie sound technology. The film was an international sensation upon its release. It stands as an exhilarating exploration of the art and craft of filmmaking, one of France's most popular cinematic exports, which is said to have influenced such later outstanding directors as Charlie Chaplin, Ernst Lubitsch and Rouben Mamoulian. Of the latter influence, there can be no doubt: the opening montage of Mamoulian's LOVE ME TONIGHT, a glorious compendium of Parisian early morning street scenes, is unimaginable without Clair's monumental earlier picture. Worth a look.
Yes, it exists. The chick was sought after by the guy's best friend. It is the past tense of the verb "to seek." You could look it up.