Le billet de mille (1935)

  |  Comedy


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7 March 2020 | ulicknormanowen
Money can buy everything.
"The film was produced in aid of a retirement fund of the movie press. All actors agreed to work for free." (imdb) :that's why the -almost complete- who's who of the French cinema is featured,often in a cameo ;famous actors such as Gabin are not present though.

The names of the actors are not present in the cast and credits : one can read them when they appear on the picture all along the screening; as it is a movie made of sketches ,it makes sense . The title ("the 1000 francs banknote") indicates that all the movie deals with money ; the segments are more or less linked ,but they are very uneven ;It took Julien Duvivier to lend credibility to the movie made out of sketches in France ,and neither Marc Didier -a director who has sunk in total oblivion- nor talented Yves (here acting as the screenwriter) can match the "carnet de bal" director.

This is a muddled affair ,in which some good moments here and there survive.

Mother is sick :she's got TB ,and the only way to cure her is to send her to breathe the pure mountains air but they are too poor to afford such a cost .Her daughter,a salesclerk (Renée Saint-Cyr) tells it to her lecherous boss who begins to touch her up;she brings the money to her suffering mom : "what a philanthropist your boss is !" This segment is ambiguous but leaves not doubt to the reason for the young girl's godsend ; Also notable for a gay character , the usual bad caricature .At the time ,the homosexuals were always ridiculed .

A gambling school : in a secondary school , students ,teachers and even the headmaster bet on horses ;but a pupil's father complains ; Two soldiers assiduously frequent the racecourses. Simply filler .

Don't commit suicide!a young woman (Gaby Morlay) is about to throw herself into the river when a wealthy man intervenes : "I'm a destitute person,I cannot go on living like that " .A Bundle of banknotes makes her change her mind.At the end of the day,she takes the money she has made with her " suicides " to the bank.Short but funny.

Stolen car and pick pockets : two policemen , are supposed to catch in the act a pick pocket who is rampant in town ;when they return to the police station ,their wallets have dispappeared :this sketch might have inspired Hergé for the misadventures of the Dupondt/ Thompson Twins in "secret of the unicorn" which Spielberg transferred to the screen in 2011.

-Gambling all night in uncle's house which ends up in a free-for-all;when the nephew comes to announce he's passed his BA , uncle rewards him.Filler.

-My first role: girl is hired by a director and enters a studio .A good trick (the door which the lover cannot open) is effective ,but the rest is padded out with uninteresting musical acts .

-The sandwich man : he has found a banknote and takes it to the police station; a long conversation follows and it drives the police chief mad ;well acted and well written , maybe the best sequence of the whole film.

-The departure :a baron asks for his balance outsanding in his bank :he is about to leave for a long journey.An anti-climax after the scene of the lost-and-found banknote.

A forgotten movie which stands little chance of bringing about its restoration.


Release Date:

11 January 1935



Country of Origin


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