It's arguable, of course, that the main problem with this filmed version of a 1920s operetta 'à la parisienne' by André Barde and Maurice Yvain is that such things don't travel, mostly due to the music. Think of Resnais' On connaît la chanson. That said, like much of his work of the last two decades, the film feels, for all the skilful craftsmanship, as irredeemably bourgeois as the world it depicts, not to say a little pointless. Knowingly, it's a faintly absurd farce. Azéma fends off various suitors out of love for industrialist husband Arditi, who believes marital bliss exists only if the man is the woman's first lover. He's unaware Azéma was once married, briefly and disastrously, to Lambert Wilson, a new American business partner he's invited to stay. Only her unwed sister knows. But will Wilson let on? Do we care? In France perhaps they did - the film was a hit - but this writer found the characters irritating, the plot predictable, the lyrics and music clever but forgettable, the 'wit' unfunny. With the exception of Wilson's eccentric turn, the performances are perfectly efficient as long as you like polished, hollow artifice - and Resnais clearly does, judging by the mise-en-scène's slow but steady shift from occasional bits of formal play to more emphatically heightened flourishes.
Cast and crew