Quadrille (1938)

And so we end the Guitry collection with probably the weakest of the four films in the box… we’re in stage play adaptation territory again, although this time it feels an awful lot more like one than even Désiré did and, in a way, is even smaller in scale than that film was. This time we’ve only four characters to concentrate on—Guitry’s newspaper editor, his  actress girlfriend, a female reporter, and a visiting Hollywood star—and really the last of is actually an offscreen figure for most of the film’s second half or so, most of his onscreen presence comes earlier on… although the repercussions of that presence extend through the rest of the film; the editor and the reporter interview him and recommend he go see the actress on stage that night. Which turns into dinner back at his hotel room and, well, complications ensue. (If I ever write a Maltin or Ebert-style film review book, I’m calling it Complications Ensue.) Guitry has a rather splendid bit where he and the reporter talk over the night before and he’s indignant about his girlfriend being unfaithful after knowing the other man for only a few hours when he’s spent a whole year secretly lusting after the other woman, but on the whole I didn’t like this as much as the other films (I’ve seen a number of other reviews and comments suggesting this is not an uncommon reaction); as I said, it’s much more obviously a stage adaptation (and the curious lack of music—at least I can’t remember hearing much—made it feel like it was made at the other end of the decade at times) and the characters in this one didn’t grab me as much as in the other films. When I come to revisit these films, I suspect I’ll go for one of the other three before this one. Still, it’s not actually bad as such, and three out of four is a pretty good strike rate. No particular complaints about the Guitry box on the whole.


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