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Monsieur Feydeau has writer's block, and he needs a new play. But he takes an opportunity to observe the upper class of 1900 Paris, Monsieur Boniface with a domineering wife, and the next-door neglectful husband Henri with a beautiful, but ignored wife, Marcelle. Henri traces architectural anomalies (most ghost sounds are drains), and plans a night at the Hotel Paradiso, but this hotel is the assignation spot of Marcelle and Boniface. One wife, two husbands, a nephew, and the perky Boniface maid, all at this "by the hour" hotel, and consummation of the affair is, to say the least, severely compromised (not the least by a police raid). All of this under Feydeau's eye, and his play is the "success fou" of the next season. —Bruce Cameron <email@example.com>
Fun and energetic!
Watch this movie to see Alec Guinness at his comedic best! The plot is somewhat contrived and does have its weak spots, but the stars really shine here. Guinness is at the top of his form here - his sly, sotto voce comments to the audience, his expressive face, and his manic capering show why he should be remembered for his comedy roles as well as his more serious roles. Robert Morley plays the role he's played a hundred times: a stuffed shirt of a character who bulldozes his way through the movie (but in a good way). Gina is lovely to look at, of course, and her excitable character is sympathetic enough. The last two-thirds of the movie are almost non-stop grins as the various characters encounter and "near-miss" each other in the Hotel Paradiso.
- May 14, 1999
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