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Movie Review: The Italian Straw Hat

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Rene Clair was one of the greatest French writer/directors with a host of classic films to his credit. He also had a lengthy sojourn in the United States, during which time he produced such immortal movies as "The Ghost Goes West", "I Married a Witch", and "And Then There Were None."

I'm a new blogger to this site, but a compulsive film buff, watching 1000+ movies a year (believe it or not as Ripley might have said). I also have a growing list of films I want to view but have not yet managed to track.

The above 1927 film, a stalwart of film societies, was among them and I finally saw it a few days ago (not on DVD, since like many worthy films, no one has yet invested in this title; it is however still available on video). Unfortunately when one anticipates an event so avidly, one often risks disappointment, and that is in fact the case here.

As an ensemble comedy, this film definitely had its moments and its mainly gentle humor was vested in giving a number of the characters little bits of business like having too-tight shoes or a non-functioning ear trumpet, but for a silent film there were insufficient visual gags.

Also, the main conceit went on far too long and was therefore stretched far too thin. The gist of the tale is a groom on the way to his wedding (the story is set in 1895) allows his horse to partially devour the eponymous bonnet. This compromises an adulterous married woman, and her paramour threatens to destroy the groom's apartment if the identical hat is not provided. He therefore spends the day trying to balance his marital duties with trying to find the elusive chapeau, without letting his wife or her extended family in on the problem.

I can't quite say that hilarity ensues.

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