Film version of Georges Feydeau’s turn-of-the-century L’hotel du libre echange is a second generation production of Peter Glenville’s legit revival of the French farceur in London.
Plot involves a complicated series of mishaps triggered by the 40-year-old ‘itch’ of M. Boniface, played with wearily glossy perfection by Alec Guinness, for the wife of his next-door neighbor, Henri Cot, assayed with appropriate bluster by Robert Morley. Miffed by her neglectful husband, Mme Cot, adequately acted by Gina Lollobrigida, succumbs to Boniface’s suggestion that they rendezvous at the seedy Parisian assignation locale, Hotel Paradiso.
A concatenation of endless coincidences, laboriously contrived for the better part of the film, conspire to relegate the rendezvous to farce.
Main problem with the film is a bloodless script. Glenville, in an attempt to infuse theatrical brio into the play, only succeeds in over-stylizing it.