Saturday, 23 May 2009

La Ronde (1950)

"Tournez vous, mes personages."
Creepiest song to have stuck in your head- EVER.
Then add the made-up lyrics: "Je suis Anton Walbrook, j'ai une ronde établi avec des boîtes de coco pops. Et un orchestre de singe..."
Yes, this was the song Anna made up while we let the dog out after the film, we were both in hysterics, it was probably a combination of tiredness and Anna's gift for the ol' French lingo (Though actually I remembered all that up there myself and the only word I couldn't remember was "établi").
The opening sequence; one-take Walbrook, brilliant. Genius. Perfect. (See above for fab opening sequence) The rest of the film; disturbing! Yeah, it opens with Walbrook as your narrator and owner of creepy metaphorical roundabout talking to his audience, walking along the streets of Paris, or is it on a stage? or is it a film set? Wow! That's some good panning and great timing! He takes off his 1950s coat and dons a cape and top hat quipping something or other about how he adores the past and continues to walk until he is in turn of the century Paris by his little carousel, he talks to a prostitute and then sings a song. This was my favourite bit of the film.
Not just because it was Walbrook and I love him, I was much more impressed with the idea, the whole thing being one long shot and the art direction... ok, I was really impressed by Walbrook too, such a good actor, perfect timing, perfect little looks at the camera. And hey, he speaks French too!?
Or does he? Later on we were treated to a dubbed Walbrook and some more dubbed actors. Were their accents and attempts really that bad? Ho hum.
So the theme is love is a roundabout, everyone is connected, sort of like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon or whatever it's called, but imagine it's called "Everyone in France has slept with everyone else- except Anton Walbrook." Ten couples, all connected by, uh, each other... Some of the stories were good, but some weren't. And mostly I just looked forward to Walbrook coming in as a waiter or a soldier or a bum and casting disapproving glances all over the shop. I think I'd like to see it again when I'm not so exhausted! I liked the little jokes, very very racy for 1950!! It wasn't really about love at all...
The actress and the Duke settling down to it, her sighing that he wouldn't have to come to the theatre to watch her as they could both watch themselves then the camera pans up to see them reflected in a huge mirror above the bed- Christ!- Cut to Walbrook holding a reel of film and some scissors, he raises an eyebrow: "Le censuré."

No comments:

Post a Comment