Wednesday, January 6, 2010

63. Boudu Sauve des eaux/Boudu Saved from Drowning (1932)

Running Time: 83 minutes
Directed By: Jean Renoir
Written By: Jean Renoir, Albert Valentin, from the play Boudu Sauve des eaux by Rene Fauchois
Main Cast: Michel Simon, Charles Granval, Marcelle Hainia, Severine Lerczinska


With eighty-three minutes to kill this evening, I decided to watch my next film in the "1001" book and Jean Renoir's eleventh film, "Boudu Saved from Drowning". I was actually quite surprised by how good this film was, as I really didn't have high hopes for it after seeing the first five minutes and despite the grainy quality of the picture and the hard to read subtitles, it was actually very good.

Boudu is a homeless man, or a tramp, as he is referred to in the film, who keeps to himself and enjoys spending his days playing with his dog. One day when his dog goes off by himself, and Boudu cannot find him, Boudu becomes very distraught and after walking around the town, decides to throw himself into the river. When a nearby bourgeois apartment dweller and bookstore owner sees him plunging into the river, he immediately races down his steps, out the door and into the river to save Boudu. We learn that the bourgeois man is named Edouard Lestingois and has a heart of gold.

Lestingois revives Boudu and invites him into his home, where he quickly provides him with a meal, some new clothes and giving him one of two lottery tickets that belonged to a recently deceased friend of Lestingois. Boudu, however, is not grateful. He wishes that Lestingois had never pulled him from the river and let him die, as he planned to do.

We quickly learn that Boudu's character is not an intelligent man, nor is he a man of manners, as he shows this by totally wrecking the kitchen, just by trying to shine his shoes. Lestingois eventually gets fed up with Boudu's behavior of spitting on the floor, and hitting on the women of the house, and decides that he must go. But will the man with the heart of gold have the heart to kick the man that he gave life to, back out on to the streets and what about the lottery ticket, will that come into play at all?

Really not a bad film at all, as the dialogue flows together really well and the characters are very easy to connect with, Lestingois most all, in my opinion. However, the subtitles were very difficult to read and the picture was very grainy and old looking. even for a 1932 film. The plot is very simple and not a whole lot happens, but sometimes that's just how I like my films and sometimes, just sometimes, less is definitely more, as is the case with "Boudu Saved from Drowning". Michel Simon does a fantastic job portraying the unintelligent Boudu and Granval turns out a good performance as the good hearted Lestingois.

RATING: 6.5/10 Jean Renoir's second of six films in the "1001" book and this one was quite pleasurable.

NEXT UP: I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang...Not expecting anything else from Netflix until Thursday, so look for the review then.

January 5, 2010 11:11pm

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