This is Paris (1926)
|German title||That's Paris|
|Original title||So This is Paris|
|Country of production||United States|
Hanns Kräly based
on the play " Le Reveillon " (1872) by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
Darryl F. Zanuck
for Warner Bros. , Burbank, Cal.
|camera||John J. Mescall|
The Parisian doctor Paul Giraud and his wife Suzanne lead a happy and harmonious married life in a decent neighborhood. However, Suzanne is quite bored and escapes from the same everyday life into her very personal dream worlds of trivial kitsch novels with princes as the central characters. When new neighbors move in, the dancing couple Georgette and Maurice Lallé, Suzanne, who is easy to get excited about, is so shocked when Paul first puts a thermometer in her mouth when he gets home. What happened? The airy, skimpy clothes - the first thing she sees Maurice with a bare torso and turban on her head in the masquerade of a sheikh, outfit for a dance to be rehearsed - and she sees the lascivious movements as an attack on her narrow moral concepts. Suzanne urges her husband, who initially simply pulls down the blinds in the room, to go over there and complain to the Lallés about this.
Paul goes willy-nilly to the new neighbors and knocks on their door. When Georgette opens, he is amazed. He knows the young, pretty woman from when she was still his flame. Georgette is not averse to rekindling the extinguished fire and tries to kiss Paul despite knowing how jealous her husband Maurice is. Paul reacts reserved and instead introduces himself to Maurice. Back at home, Paul does not tell Suzanne how lovely the new neighbors really are and that he has known Georgette from before. Rather, he sounds like, he gave these immoral people a good go-ahead. A little later, Maurice pays the Girauds a return visit. Suzanne flows along in the face of Maurice's gallantry, while Paul pretends not to notice the flirtation between his wife and the attractive dancer.
Paul, wedged between the morals of his wife and the jealous Maurice, nevertheless finds a way to meet secretly with his old love Georgette, who called him and asked him for a secret rendezvous in a café. He pretends to Suzanne that he has been called for a medical emergency. On the way to Georgette, he is stopped by a police officer for driving too fast. Paul also tells the lie about an emergency mission to rescue a seriously ill person, whereupon the policeman lets him drive on. In front of the café where Georgette is already waiting for him, the officer turns up again and sees that Paul had lied to him. There is a verbal argument with the representative of the state authority and leads to the fact that the doctor has to go to jail for three days for insulting an official. Back home, Suzanne doesn't understand why Paul didn't justify the speeding on the fact that, as he had assured her, he was on the way to a medical emergency. After all, he must have evidence and witnesses for this statement. She therefore decides to take action herself and finds out during her phone call that the patient in question is already dead.
Although Paul has received a summons to report to the police station by 8 p.m. the next day in order to begin three-day imprisonment, he changes clothes so that he can go to an artist's ball with Georgette, without Maurice's knowledge, of course and Suzanne. He tricked his wife into believing that he would now go to prison. Meanwhile, Paul's departure has not gone unnoticed by Maurice, who in turn hopes to be able to get a chance with the highly morally uptight neighbor Suzanne. He promptly walks over to her. What the two do in the Giraud house is not shown, only that Maurice leaves the Giraud house a few hours later, rather elated. Meanwhile, Paul and Georgette are having a lot of fun at the party, where the Charleston is danced with wild and ecstatic convulsions . Maurice visits Suzanne again, but this time she keeps her charmer at a distance. Then the doorbell rings, the police are at the door. Paul didn't show up at the station. As expected, Suzanne is very surprised. But since you now meet Maurice in the Giraud house, he is mistaken for Paul and promptly taken away. Suzanne, who fears a scandal for her respected medical husband, asks Maurice not to clear up this error.
When Suzanne, now at home alone, turns on the radio, she hears a report about the Charleston competition. To her greatest astonishment, she learns that her husband and Georgette Lallé have won the dance competition at the artists' ball. Then Suzanne immediately rushes to this event to bring her nimble spouse home. But he's now drunk and doesn't recognize Suzanne because she's wearing a party mask. Instead, he jokes with her, winks at his unknown wife and finally can't open his eyes. Back at home, Suzanne gives her reckless husband a proper lecture. He should be glad that he no longer has to go to prison. With each of her words, Paul becomes more and more meek and shrinks - a silent film special effect makes it possible - finally to the size of a toddler.
This is Paris , a largely unknown side work by the Berlin master director, was first shown in American cinemas on July 31, 1926. In Germany, the comedy premiered at Christmas 1926. The film, with which Lubitsch ended his collaboration with Warner Bros., which had existed since 1924, was voted one of the ten best cinema productions of 1926 by the New York Times editorial team.
Lubitsch's permanent collaborator in his German silent films in Berlin, Hanns Kräly , had used elements of the comedy Das fidele prison, which he and Lubitsch had made nine years earlier, in this film . Harold Grieve designed the film structures, Ernst Laemmle, a nephew of Universal's founder Carl Laemmle , was one of two assistant directors. Production costs were approximately $ 253,000.
The Charleston dance competition is the cinematic highlight of this story. Lubitsch designed it with tricky finesse (quick cuts, alternating perspectives, gyroscopic movements, cross-fading), which give the film the highest possible speed at this moment.
In the New York Times , star critic Mordaunt Hall dealt with the Lubitsch film. There it said on August 16, 1926: “No matter how brilliant the film that Mr. Lubitsch has made, he always succeeds in inserting a supernatural punch. (...) In 'So This Is Paris' his tour de force is an extraordinarily brilliant conception of the view of a Charleston competition, with a lively, kaleidoscopic change from the feet and figures to the omnipotent saxophones. This overwhelming episode is like a man's dream after drinking excessively wine at such an event. The comedy in this film had kept the audience in a constant fit of laughter at the time, but the terrifying, dissolving scenic effects and various 'shots' elicited a hearty round of applause. (...) This comedy farce bubbles with satire. "
The Movie & Video Guide wrote about the film: “Foamy Lubitsch silent film. An elegant romantic comedy by the dancers Tashman and Berenger with Dr. Blue and wife Miller. Entertaining, brisk and funny. "
- So This is Paris in The New York Times
- In the original: “No matter how brilliant may be the picture Mr. Lubitsch produces, he succeeds invariably in inserting a transcendental stroke. (...) In 'So This Is Paris,' his tour de force is an extraordinarily brilliant conception of an eye full of a Charleston contest, with vibrant kaleidoscopic changes from feet and figures to the omnipotent saxophones. This dazzling episode is like the dream of a man after drinking more than his share of wine at such an event. The comedy in this film had, up to that time, kept the audience in constant explosions of laughter, but the startling dissolving scenic effects and varied "shots" elicited a hearty round of applause. (...) The farce comedy is titivated with satire. "
- Leonard Maltin : Movie & Video Guide, 1996 edition, p. 1221. In the original: “Frothy Lubitsch silent; sophisticated romantic comedy of dancers Tashman and Berenger with Dr. Blue and wife Miller. Entertaining, fast-moving and funny "