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  • -On the contrary,he is a bishop!

    Another settlement of scores for Guitry ;More were to come :"Assassins Et Voleurs" ,"La Poison" ...Guitry who was interned after the Liberation never really got over it."Le Diable Boiteux" (what a title!) is a transparent metaphor and Reductio ad Absurdum (as was often the case with this auteur)that cashing in on all sides,changing sides ,can be "useful" ,good for the homeland ,because if you do it,it is because you do love your country .Anyway opportunism has always been the rule for many politicians and we still find many of these persons today in France or all around the world.And we always will.

    "Le Diable Boiteux" might seem less palatable than Guitry 's other "historical " extravaganzas ,particularly in its first part.But it hits its stride halfway and the final is brilliant beyond belief :extraordinary lines ,with puns galore ,wit is here there and everywhere .One thing that Guitry does best: his character gets older and older in front of our eyes ;when he meets the English ambassadors,we really feel he is about to die.Death and obsession for immortality were always present in Guitry 's best later movies.

    Outstanding scenes: -the servants ,talking about their master,before HE appears ,a trick Guitry borrowed from Molière.

    -the wall with its "long live the emperor" "long live the king" "down with the emperor" "long live the republic" etc...The writing may be on the wall ,but French people are as opportunistic as their leaders ,ready to disown what they liked yesterday.

    -the "Restauration" with the three kings ,all waiting for their turn and hoping for an interesting death.

    -the meeting in Vienna where the allied (France ain't one of us!they were defeated!),full of finer feelings ,are actually carrion eaters ,ready to carve up Poland and Belgium.

    But "Le Diable Boiteux" is so rich a movie everyone will find his favorite sequences .
  • Sacha Guitry was cleared of allegations of collaboration in 1947. He returned to the stage with his play about the diplomat Talleyrand and committed it to celluloid the following year. He is absolutely magnificent in the role and bears an uncanny resemblance to the portrait of Talleyrand by Ary Scheffer. By far the strongest scenes are those where Talleyrand exhibits his formidable negotiating skills in Vienna and London. His scenes with his mistress Catherine Grand, played by the fascinating Lana Marconi are also effective . The chemistry between these two actors is palpable not least because she was to become, at the age of twenty-eight, his fifth wife. Guitry, by the way, was a mere sixty-two. Diable chanceax! He is supposed to have remarked to her'others were only my wives but you will be my widow'. In this he turned out to be remarkably prescient! There is a rather bizarre interlude involving a Spanish dancer and an extremely hammy scene from the 'Barber of Seville' which the film could have done without. The casting of Emile Drain as Napoleon is unfortunate as he is an actor utterly devoid of talent or charisma. Guitry favourite Pauline Carton supplies the comedy relief as a clairvoyant. On the whole this is a very well constructed biopic with excellent production values and a central performance by a consummate artiste. He was by the way, to play this fascinating character again in his rather overblown extravaganza 'Napoleon'. On this occasion the Emperor is played by two actors neither of whom is Emile Drain I am pleased to say!