5 March 2011 | dbdumonteil
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I never Flew from London to Melbourne but found love
Arletty's name may lure customers in ,for she is at the top of the cast and credits on the page ;actually her name is the last to appear on the screen.Her appearance does not exceed 10 minutes at the beginning when she plays the mistress of an officer who takes part in the great London-to -Melbourne (no less!) airplane race and takes advantage of it for her career (she's an actress).No time enough to really shine or were the producers afraid she might outstrip the principals? Apart from the officer ,the only woman in the competition is an English rich girl played by bland Daniele Parola ;so the question is:why did n't they take an English actress ,fluent in French,such as the marvelous dynamic Betty Stockfeld ?Stockfeld was attractive ,funny and she had plenty of go .Parola had none.Ditto for Alerme (!) as the wealthy Lord , a papa proud of his family tree .Who could believe they came from perfidious Albion (as Arletty called it ) ?
Two plane wrecks and the two aviators land up (or down) on a small island in the sun where they meet two "natives" Aloha and Maoupiti;both are white actors made up as locals .For the record,Charles Moulin ,who plays the male native ,would be Ginette Leclerc's lover in Pagnol's "La Femme Du Boulanger" (the baker's wife)the following year.The lack of means show in these exotic scenes ,including pearls,pirates ,and life Robinson Crusoe style .You would never guess it ,but the two failed aviators fall in love ! When they return ,Papa wouldn't hear of a marriage .
So the exotic adventures movie turns into a melodrama ;the director backs on both horses and fails twice .