BEAUTIES OF THE NIGHT
(Les Belles de Nuit)
Beauties of the Night is a variant on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and actually a far more enjoyable version than the Danny Kaye film adaptation The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) was. Rene Clair has a broad ease of hand and fills Beauties of the Night with a series of delightful ironic reversals like how everybody wants Gerard Philippe to stay awake and when he finally agrees, they then want him to go back to sleep. There are amusing recurring throwaway gags the old man that turns up in every era, even back in prehistory as a caveman complaining life wasnt the same it was in the old days; or the hole in the trouser leg that keeps reappearing in the dream. Clair, when freed of the Hollywood studio system, as he was here, has the visual elan of an Orson Welles with his cutaway sets, shots that move through the walls into different times and places, and dissolves from paintings into perfectly posed live tableaux.
There is nice casting too Martine Carol has a sweet, open beauty and hero Gerard Philippe plays with a winsome, lost puppy-dog innocence. Gina Lollobrigida has one of her earliest roles as a waitress.
Clip from the film here (no subs):-