Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Sous Les Toits De Paris
France, 1930. Films Sonores Tobis. Screenplay by Rene Clair. Cinematography by Georges Perinal, Georges Raulet. Music by Raoul Moretti, Vincent Scotto. Production Design by Lazare Meerson. Costume Design by Rene Hubert. Film Editing by Rene Le Henaff.
A Romanian girl with dazzling eyes lives in Paris and liberally steals hearts, turning the heads of a gangster and a street musician. The men both have unfortunate ties to underworld figures that get the musician in trouble with the law when a friend of his leaves a bag of stolen goods in his apartment, for which he is soon made responsible. While in prison, our singing hero loses the girl to his best pal, who then loses her to the gangster all the while the police force is getting caught up on the proper thief. It’s a silly plot but pulled off with lighthearted charm by Rene Clair’s typically delicate direction, which at this very early stage of sound technology expertly keeps dialogue to a minimum and uses silent film techniques and music to put most of the story across. The overall effect is hopelessly twee, lacking the worldlier cynicism of a better movie like Le Million, but it has its moments.