26 January 2016 | dbdumonteil
Money can't buy happiness;but in the end,it helps!
Raoul André had already directed a story of abducted child in "L'Homme Et L'Infant" in 1956 ,a movie starring Eddie Constantine and Juliette Gréco.
"Clara Et Les Méchants" (= Clara and the villains) aka "Bourreaux D'Enfants (=child beaters) is more of the same : a rich kid ,daughter of an oil tycoon ,lives a life of luxury with private tutors and porridge and kipper for breakfast ;dad is busy caring about his big business -we never see him- and mom is a socialite ,who puts her girl to bed before enjoying a society party.Bad guys kidnap the heiress ,to get a hefty ransom ;of course all of them are two-bit gangsters and pretty soon the little silly goose leads her kidnappers by the nose ...The scene where the girl is in bed and dreams of a magic merry-go-round might have promised a bit of fantasy but the ponderous gags and the villains' witless unfunny lines drown all poetry out.
Talking about poetry: the young star ,Minou Drouet ,was a whiz kid ,a child poetess in the second half of the fifties .Her talent was much debated (Jean Cocteau said:"all children are poets but Minou Drouet"),and gossips claimed that her adoptive mother,a teacher ,wrote the poems;today it's still a mystery,but Minou Drouet never became the French Shirley Temple and she was never to make another movie.
Raoul André was a poor director,as a cursory look at his filmography shows :his first efforts are probably the most watchable ,particularly "Le Fiacre 13" a good old melodrama.In "Clara",he is unable to use talented Michel Serrault and Jean Poiret (then a team,like Martin and Lewis)efficiently.