Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)

Not Rated   |    |  Comedy

Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932) Poster

A bookseller saves a tramp from drowning and shelters him, but the tramp's odd behavior starts to wear everyone down.


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10 September 2009 | Flak_Magnet
| Certainly well made Renoir film, but ultimately rather dull
This is a difficult film to review succinctly. I didn't really enjoy it, but the film is well-made, well acted, and the underlying message is still poignant. At the time, "Boudu Saved from Drowning" was quite controversial, with Michel Simon's portrayal of the antisocial, uncompromised tramp (Boudu) inciting audiences to actual riot. (In fact, the film was apparently pulled from theaters by French police several days into its screening). Essentially, "Boudu Saved from Drowning" is an attack on liberalism, as well as a sort of black satire about societal class differences. Through their interaction with Boudu, a stereotypical Burgeouise family showcase the consequences of liberal idealism, as their efforts to help and reform Boudu all backfire unpredictably. Boudu is an irredeemable, unchangeable, and uncompromised outsider and he is happy as such. In the words of Jean Renoir, "...Micheal Simon was more than a tramp. He was the personification of all tramps." In other words, the lower class. Michel Simon does a great job with the part and the Boudu character is memorable. However, the rest of the characters are unlikeable (e.g. a perverse, overweight philanderer; his unabashed housekeeper mistress, a caustic wife, etc.) and the film's narrative is just, well, stuffy. I'd probably appreciate a film like this much more at 60 than I do at 30. For a film from 1931, "Boudu" does seem pretty fresh and the print looks terrific. Nonetheless, I didn't find "Boudu" very engaging. I can't recommend this one. ---|--- Reviews by Flak Magnet

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