Rene Clair returns to the lower class suburbs and milieu used for his best prewar pix. However, he has come up with a light tale which wavers between comedy and drama, making a slight, fragile pic.

Rene Clair returns to the lower class suburbs and milieu used for his best prewar pix. However, he has come up with a light tale which wavers between comedy and drama, making a slight, fragile pic.

A genial neighborhood good-for-nothing drunkard (Pierre Brasseur), living off his hard-working mother, and his friend, an itinerant singing troubadour (Georges Brassens) get saddled with a gangster (Henri Vidal) who has just killed three people. The killer stays on until he is discovered by a clever young girl (Dany Carrel). The gangster woos and wins her and tries to get her to steal money from her father.

The film’s mixture of styles rarely allows for the achieving the balance of irony and comedy. Its story loopholes are not quite covered by the treatment.

Brasseur gives an astute portrait of the drifter. Brassens, a noted ballader, is too unsure of his lines to do much as the troubadour. However, he is okay when he sings. Carrel is a pert flirt but Vidal does not infuse the gangster with enough redeeming qualities.

Porte des Lilas

France - Italy

Production

Filmsonor/Cinetel/Seca/Rizzol. Director Rene Clair; Screenplay Rene Clair, Jean Aurel; Camera Robert Le Febvre; Editor Louisette Hautecoeur, Arlette Lalande; Music Georges Brassens; Art Director Leon Barsacq

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1957. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Pierre Brasseur Georges Brassens Henri Vidal Dany Carrel Raymond Bussieres Amedee
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