Under the Roofs of Paris

It's weird how Criterion sometimes translates a title and sometimes doesn't, isn't it?

Under the Roofs of Paris, or Sous les toits de Paris, was Rene Clair's first sound film, released the year before our other two Clair's: Le Million and A nous la Liberte. Clair is full on just experimenting with sound and silence in this movie and it's brilliant. We've got scenes of action with no noise -- or a loud noise covering everything -- scenes of noise with no visible action, conversations that take place behind glass...as if Clair was forced to put sound into this film and his response was, "Oh yeah? I'll give you sound, alright" while rubbing his hands together. Beyond the technical marvel, it's a funny movie, though a bit light on plot as Pat is so quick to point out.

W. C. Fields - Six Short Films

After last week's less then impressive W.C. Fields outing we get another serving of the misanthropic drunk. The Golf Specialist (Monte Brice, 1930), The Pharmacist (Arthur Ripley, 1933), The Fatal Glass of Beer (Clyde Bruckman, 1933), The Barber Shop (Arthur Ripley, 1933), The Dentist (Leslie Pearce, 1932), and the silent Pool Sharks (Edwin Middleton, 1915). While some are better and more memorable than others, I think Pat and I enjoyed each much more than we liked The Bank Dick. The less time we spend with W. C. Fields the more we enjoy him.

The Blood of a Poet

Pat has little patience for modern art. I've got a little more. Jean Cocteau clearly does. His 1930 film The Blood of a Poet is a trip, and it's not one Pat or I was all that thrilled to take. To help us parse the film we do a little format experiment. Guiding our conversation is Cocteau himself via an essay he wrote about The Blood of a Poet upon the release of his later adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. We take Cocteau's explanation of the film paragraph by paragraph and discuss. It doesn't really help.

This also marks the point where a box set will cause our numbering system to be forever out of wack compared to Criterion's Spine numbers. Eventually it will be way off.