Baby’s Laxative (1931)

JEAN RENOIR

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.

Original Title: On purge bébé

, 1931Screenplay by , , based on the play by Cinematography by Produced by , Music by Production Design by Film Editing by .

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 ) 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 concerns (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.

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