Le million

( 1 )

Overview

René Lefèvre and Annabella are sheer delights, as is everything else in Le Million, René Clair's bright and winning early sound comedy. Clair has his actors sing their dialogue in a blithe and breezy way and utilizes a succession of surrealistic and Dadaesque touches to chronicle this lighthearted extended chase, concerning an artist racing through the streets of Paris an amazing studio set constructed by Lazare Meerson in order to retrieve a winning lottery ticket left in the pocket of a discarded jacket. Many ...
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DVD (Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono)
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Overview

René Lefèvre and Annabella are sheer delights, as is everything else in Le Million, René Clair's bright and winning early sound comedy. Clair has his actors sing their dialogue in a blithe and breezy way and utilizes a succession of surrealistic and Dadaesque touches to chronicle this lighthearted extended chase, concerning an artist racing through the streets of Paris an amazing studio set constructed by Lazare Meerson in order to retrieve a winning lottery ticket left in the pocket of a discarded jacket. Many of Clair's comic embellishments like the dubbed-in sound effects of a football game over a portion of the chase have been used endlessly in comedies ever since, but in Clair's hands, the old jokes still look fresh and magical.
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Special Features

New digital transfer, with extensive image and sound restoration; A gallery of production photos; A rare American television interview with René Clair; New and improved English subtitles, with every song lyric translated for the first time
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
A fun romp through a soundstage version of Paris, René Clair's charming 1930 musical comedy follows the exploits of Michel (René Lefevre) -- a starving artist living in a garret -- as he franticly searches for a misplaced winning lottery ticket that's his only defense against a swarm of creditors. Le Million's musical numbers have a breezy appeal, and its strong cast includes Annabella as Beatrice, the philandering Michel's one true love. But the well-choreographed chases and tussles, with cops and crooks alike, give Le Million its real zest. This is especially evident in a scene depicting a scramble for a tattered old jacket (with the winning ticket in one of its pockets) that suddenly transforms into a sort of rugby match -- complete with the sounds of a cheering crowd (a signature Clair touch) -- and the famous sequence where the chase for the ticket becomes entangled with an opera production, said to have inspired the Marx Brothers's classic A Night at the Opera.
All Movie Guide
The whimsical, carefree nature of René Clair's films was never more evident than in his great early sound picture Le Million. The plot is about as relevant as the plot of a Marx Brothers picture. What matters is the chase, and in the great tradition of Sennett and Chaplin, the absurdity of practically every scene makes the film all the more enjoyable. The farcical nature of the material, mixed with the periodic bursts of song, also add to the feeling that we are seeing a world playfully turned upside down. Le Million, like Clair's other films of this period, is as cinematically innovative as it is funny. Unlike most films of the early '30s, he does not just use sound for its musical potential or to literally reproduce the sound of what is seen onscreen; instead, he embraces it for the potential it has add to the flavor of the scene and to complement the visuals. This is especially evident in the classic scene where several characters are running around a room trying to get their hands on a coat, and Clair uses the sounds of a football game to emphasize the comedy of the scene. Also innovative are the sets by Lazare Meerson, which create a stylistic reproduction of a French city. Even though many of the interiors lack much in the way of detail, their shape and minimalism are as effective and stunning as the most elaborate Hollywood sets. Other highlights of the film include Michel's efforts to evade the various merchants to whom he owes money, Michel and Beatrice making up while hiding on the opera stage, Michel and Prosper battling for control of the jacket in the middle of an opera performance, and Beatrice's encounter with Grandpa Tulip. The entire cast is a joy, including the various uncredited supporting performers who populate the film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/16/2000
  • UPC: 037429147627
  • Original Release: 1931
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: Français
  • Time: 1:21:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 4,019

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Annabella Béatrice
René Lefèvre Michel
Constantin Stroesco Sopranelli
Louis Allibert Prosper Bénévant
Paul Olivier Crochard (Père-la-Tulipe)
Odette Talazac The soprano
Vanda Greville Vanda
Armand Bernard Conductor
Raymond Cordy Taxi Driver
André Michaud Butcher
Jane Pierson Grocer
Pitouto Stage Manager
Technical Credits
René Clair Director, Screenwriter
Georges Benda Costumes/Costume Designer
Armand Bernard Score Composer
Lazare Meerson Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Georges Périnal Cinematographer
Georges Van Parys Score Composer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. Logos/Opening Credits [1:29]
2. Over the Roofs of Paris [2:57]
3. Artist at Work [6:39]
4. Shopkeepers, Police, and Girlfriends [2:48]
5. Le Père la Tulipe [1:49]
6. One... No! Two... No! Three... Yes! [6:01]
7. Millionaire [3:09]
8. Thrift Store [8:01]
9. False Arrest [5:34]
10. The Police Station [4:55]
11. "Prosper, What Have You Done?" [3:40]
12. Sopranelli's Dressing Room [4:41]
13. "On Stage!" [12:04]
14. Prosper and Michel's Big Break [6:52]
15. The Football Match [2:07]
16. Look on the Roof! [3:02]
17. "What Lottery Ticket?" [5:24]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play the Movie
   Clair on Sound
   Stills Gallery
   Subtitles
      On
      Off
   Color Bars
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Customer Reviews

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    Posted July 24, 2010

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