Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Boudu Sauve Des Eaux

France, 1932, .  Screenplay by Jean Renoir, , based on the play by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Production Design by , .  Film Editing by .

This is not Jean Renoir’s debut as director but was his first massive hit and the role for which actor is best known.  He plays a vagrant who throws himself in the Seine after his dog runs away, prompting a nearby, well-to-do shop owner to rescue him.

The two become friendly and the richer man invites the bum to live with him and supports his recovery into respectable life.  It is expected that Simon will take advantage of the opportunity to move up the social ladder, but what happens instead is that the household, complete with a frustrated bourgeoise of a wife, is shaken to its very core thanks to a man who is as much an anarchist as he is a clown.

It is a record of a time and place with its adorable Paris locations, a sweetly light and perfectly punctuated comedy.  Later remade as Down And Out In Beverly Hills in Hollywood and in France by Gerard Jugnot in 2005 with Gerard Depardieu.

The Criterion Collection:  #305


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