15 August 2017 | utgard14
"God has a sense of humor. And the joke is on you."
Talkie remake of the silent classic about the romance between a sewer worker and an abused woman in WWI-era Paris. The original is one of my favorite silent films, with beautiful performances by Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, and excellent direction by Frank Borzage. This one is good on its own but it's lacking the magic the first film had.
Some are going to balk at Stewart playing a Frenchman but it was common for American actors back then not to attempt accents when playing foreign parts. It doesn't bother me. I never really get that criticism anyway. How is using an accent but speaking English instead of French any better or more authentic? Stewart does a fine job. Not one of his best performances but nothing to be embarrassed about. Simone Simon is one of the most beautiful women to ever appear on film. The camera is absolutely in love with her. She's also great in this role, bringing sensitivity and gentleness to the part like few other actresses of the time could have done. Jimmy and Simone, while individually appealing, don't have much romantic chemistry. Still, I defy anyone's heart not to melt when Simone gets the soft light treatment & begs Jimmy to say sweet things to her. The supporting cast is good. Gale Sondergaard, Jean Hersholt, Gregory Ratoff, J. Edward Bromberg, John Qualen, and Sig Ruman are among the top-notch actors in this.
It's an entertaining movie with a lot to like about it. It probably helps if you haven't seen the original, which is just perfect. Still, I adore any movie with Simone Simon so I definitely recommend you check this out for her, if nothing else.