Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original Title: On purge bébé
France, 1931. Les Établissements Braunberger-Richebé. Screenplay by Pierre Prévert, Jean Renoir, based on the play by Georges Feydeau. Cinematography by Theodor Sparkuhl. Produced by Pierre Braunberger, Roger Richebé. Music by Paul Misraki. Production Design by Gabriel Scognamillo. Film Editing by Jean Mamy.
For this early feature film, Jean Renoir adapts a one-act play by Georges Feydeau to the screen with little, it seems, augmentation. The majority of it takes place in the one setting, the spacious apartment of a bourgeois couple who live there with their young son.
The doddering father, who is a porcelain maker, is preparing for the visit of a client (played by Michel Simon) to sell chamber pots, while at the same time his wife is expressing her anxiety over their son’s constipation.
It’s a funny lampooning of middle-class propriety, humorously bringing low concerns into a high setting; its themes are in line with Renoir’s usual themes (the corporeal at odds with the intellectual) but also shows his strength with editing, sound and pace very early in his career, as it is rare that movies from the early days of sound move this smoothly.