Happiness

No time to write anything, but Marcel L’Herbier’s LA COMEDIE DU BONHEUR, which has no particular reputation at all, looks rather splendid here, don’t you think? Avec Louis Jourdan, Ramon Novarro, Michel Simon, Micheline Presle, and Jean Cocteau as screenplay collab.

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3 Responses to “Happiness”

  1. Marcel L’Herbier is quite simple one of the greatest names in all of cinema. An innovator in the silent era with such stylish items as L’Homme du Large (1920), L’Inhumaine (1924) and Le Vertige (1926), frequently featuring his boyfriend Jacque Catelain he anticipates Alain Resnais by two decades. The climax of his silent period is L’argent (1928) , an epic masterpiece (you can find it in several parts on You Tube) that does precisely what Stroheim wanted to to and failed.

  2. With the coming of sound L’Herbier made his mark with the diptych Le Mystere de la Chambre Jaune (1930) and Le Parfum de la Dame en Noir (1931) starring the Fairbanks-like Roland Toutain who I trust we all recall as the doomed flier in Rules of the Game

    I’ve never seen La Comedie du Bonheur (Louis Jourdan looks in theis clip as sumptuously testy as Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley), but I’m crazy about L’Herbier’s Le Boheur with Charles Boyer and Gaby Morlay.

    The most fascinating item in the L’Herbier filmography stems form the film that made him want to become a filmmaker: Cecil B. DeMille’s The Cheat (1915). A beautifully made little shocker about a Despertate Housewife (Fanny Ward) who thanks to gambling debts she owes to a gorgeous but sinister Japanese gentleman (Sessue Hayakawa) is branded by him with a red-hot iron.
    U.S. audiences loved it, but French intellectuals went bananas. Colette wrote a paen to it, and no less an eminence than Musidora personally took L’Herbier to see it. And so in 1937 L’Herbier confected a sound remake of it starring

    (wait for it)

    Sessue Hayakawa!

    Never seen it. I hope it’s a shot-by-shot like Gus’ (woefully unappreciated) Psycho.

  3. I’ve seen and loved Le Bonheur and will be writing about it very shortly.

    The L’Herbier Cheat seems to be fairly faithful, but apparently darker and more psychological than the DeMille. With Victor Francen and Louis Jouvet filling out the cast, it can hardly be lacking in interest, to say the least…

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