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  • Guitry's fascination for getting old was glaring in the last part of his career.Some of his works dealt directly (as in the present work) with the problems faced by an aging director who wonders if he can still keep it together."Si Versailles M'Etait Conté" showed an aging Louis XIV,in the Maintenon years ;"Si Paris M'Etait Conté" showed an old Voltaire .But it was "Debureau" that revealed the director's fears.

    Not a very entertaining work,more interesting than really enjoyable;it does not give as much pleasure as such works as "Les Perles De La Couronne" or one of the two movies I mention above.In spite of its dialog written in verse,it's an almost frightening meditation upon mortality,Guitry's most confessional film .

    Deburau (spelled Debureau) was a character in Carné's masterpiece "Les Enfants Du Paradis";but Guitry's Deburau has become an old mime whose life is coming to nothing when he has to retire and when his lover leaves him for another younger suitor .The last picture,in spite of its "the show must go on" feeling ,is the saddest in all Guitry's movies.

    Like this?Try these....

    "La Fin Du Jour",Julien Duvivier 1939 "Limelight" ,Charlie Chaplin ,1952
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Most reasonably knowledgeable film buffs will immediately connect the name Debureau with a leading character in the Prevert-Carne masterpiece Les Enfants du Paradis and those who can get beyond Arletty's dazzling performance as Garance may even remember that the character was played by Jean-Louis Barrault but only the really dedicated buff will be aware that Sacha Guitry revisited the character and played it himself in 195l, some half a dozen years after Les Enfants. Guitry, first and foremost a Man of the Theatre - he wrote some 120 plays - was in the last decade of his life (he would die in 1957) and for several years had been aware of his own mortality and explored it in several productions. Here he portrays Debureau in old age and hopelessly embroiled in a one-sided love affair finally using his remaining time to teach the art of mime to a younger generation. As he often did in his movies Guitry introduces his cast and technicians at the start and significantly holds off portraying Debureau at work on stage until the final act. As with all Guitry's film work it is accomplished and highly polished but has a definite downbeat tone lacking in his earlier works.