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 Post subject: Hugo Cabret Tidbit #14 ~ Le Million & René Clair
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:04 pm 
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Location: The Left Coast
René Clair
November 11, 1898 – March 15, 1981

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Continuing on with this passage from Pg. 202:
First came the newsreels, each one a few minutes long, about current events around the world. There was one about the Depression in America, one about a World's Fair that would be opening in Paris in a few months (Hugo thought that sounded exciting, although he knew he'd never be able to go), and one about politics in Germany. And then, finally, a cartoon began. It was The Clock Store. In it, an old man was lighting streetlamps as night fell, and he passed a clock store. Inside, all the clocks were alive, and they were dancing to classical music. Hugo knew his father would have loved it. In the end, the music grew wilder as two alarm clocks had a fight. The curtains closed, everyone applauded, and the projectionist changed the reels. After a few moments, the curtains opened again and the main feature, The Million, by a director named René Clair, began. It was about an artist, a lost lottery ticket, a criminal, a borrowed coat, and an opera singer, and it had one of the most amazing chase sequences that Hugo could ever imagine. He thought every good story should end with a big, exciting chase.



Prominent film director and script writer René Clair was born René-Lucien Chomette in 1898 in Paris, and grew up in the Les Halles quarter. He attended the Lycée Montaigne and the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. During World War I, he served as an ambulance driver. After the war, he started a career as a journalist under the pseudonym René Desprès. After working for a while as a journalist, he soon discovered a passion for cinema whilst acting in some of Louis Feuillade’s films. He followed his apprenticeship under director Jacques de Barnocelli by making his first film in 1924, Paris qui dort (Paris which sleeps), a comic satire with a science-fiction theme.



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René Clair and Eric Satie, 1924


In his subsequent films, Clair developed his penchant for satirical surrealism in films which were highly regarded at the time and which are now considered to be masterpieces. These include Entr’acte, Sous les toits de Paris (Under the roofs of Paris) and À nous la liberté (Liberty for Us), the latter of which is reputed to have partly inspired Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, which led to some controversy. Chaplin’s film exhibits notable similarities to À nous la liberté— the assembly line sequence is a clear instance.





Clair started making films before the advent of sound, and therefore had very conflicting views of its uses; he was forced to use sound in his films for financial success. However, in lieu of creating films from theater plays like other French directors, Clair used sound to take the audience out of the narrative and into a different reality.

He made one film in Great Britain (The Ghost Goes West) in 1935 before moving to the United States where he directed half a dozen more down–to-earth American films including The Flame of New Orleans and I Married a Witch.

Stills from The Flame of New Orleans. Note the shot of Marlene Dietrich with Clair:



Despite the fact that he was stripped of his French citizenship by the Vichy government (according to Wikipedia), Clair returned to France after the war and resumed his film-making career there, but with noticeably less success. While his first film after his return, Le silence est d’or (Silence is gold), was very popular, his subsequent films were increasingly less well received.

Despite this decline in his career, René Clair is now universally regarded as one of the most significant figures in French cinema history. He was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Cambridge and received the Grand Prix du Cinéma Français in 1953. Clair's films And Then There Were None and Le Silence est d'or both won best picture at the Locarno International Film Festival. In 1962, he was elected to the Académie Française. He came to personify French film, and the prize for film awarded by the Académie Française bears his name because he was the first film director to receive this great accolade.

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The following is the link to a very analytical essay on René Clair, if you dare. It is above my head, for the most part, but maybe not for you:




Filmography

Writer:
1. Gariban (1966) (screenplay "Porte des Lilas") (uncredited)
2. The Lace Wars (1965) (writer)
... aka "Les fêtes galantes" - France (original title)
3. Three Fables of Love (1962) (writer)
... aka "Les quatre vérités" - Spain (original title)
4. Tout l'or du monde (1961) (writer)
5. De fil en aiguille (1960) (TV) (short story)
6. Love and the Frenchwoman (1960) (segment "Mariage, Le")
... aka "La française et l'amour" - Italy (original title)
7. The Golden Age of Comedy (1957) (French commentary)
8. The Gates of Paris (1957) (screenplay and dialogue)
... aka "Porte des Lilas" - France (original title)
9. The Grand Maneuver (1955) (screenplay and dialogue)
... aka "Les grandes manoeuvres" - France (original title)
10. Beauties of the Night (1952) (adaptation) (dialogue) (scenario)
... aka "Les belles de nuit" - France (original title)
11. Beauty and the Devil (1950) (screenplay and dialogue)
... aka "La beauté du diable" - France (original title)
12. Le silence est d'or (1947) (scenario & dialogue)
... aka "Man About Town" - USA (review title)
... aka "Silence Is Golden" - International (English title) (literal title)
13. It Happened Tomorrow (1944) (adaptation and screenplay) (as Rene Clair)
... aka "René Clair's It Happened Tomorrow" - USA (complete title)
14. I Married a Witch (1942) (dialogue) (uncredited)
15. The Flame of New Orleans (1941) (uncredited)
16. Break the News (1938) (writer)
17. The Ghost Goes West (1935) (writer)
18. The Last Billionaire (1934) (writer)
... aka "Le dernier milliardaire" - France (original title)
... aka "The Last Millionaire" - International (English title) (literal title)
19. July 14 (1933) (writer)
... aka "Quatorze Juillet" - France (original title)
... aka "Bastille Day" - International (English title)
20. À nous la liberté (1931) (story and screenplay)
... aka "Freedom for Us" - International (English title)
21. A Severa (1931) (writer) (unconfirmed)
22. The Million (1931) (writer)
... aka "Le million" - France (original title)
23. Beauty Prize (1930) (idea and adaptation)
... aka "Prix de beauté (Miss Europe)" - France (original title)
24. Under the Roofs of Paris (1930) (writer)
... aka "Sous les toits de Paris" - France (original title)
25. Two Timid Souls (1928) (writer)
... aka "Les deux timides" - France (original title)
26. The Horse Ate the Hat (1928) (writer)
... aka "Un chapeau de paille d'Italie" - France (original title)
... aka "The Italian Straw Hat" - USA
27. The Prey of the Wind (1927) (writer)
... aka "La proie du vent" - France (original title)
28. The Imaginary Voyage (1925) (writer)
... aka "Le voyage imaginaire" - France (original title)
29. The Phantom of the Moulin-Rouge (1925) (writer)
... aka "Le fantôme du Moulin-Rouge" - France (original title)
30. At 3:25 (1925) (writer)
... aka "Paris qui dort" - France (original title)
... aka "Paris Asleep" - International (English title)
... aka "The Crazy Ray" - International (English title)
31. Entr'acte (1924) (adaptation and screenplay)

Director:
1. The Lace Wars (1965)
... aka "Les fêtes galantes" - France (original title)
2. "Les fables de La Fontaine" (1964) TV series (unknown episodes)
3. Three Fables of Love (1962) (segment "Les deux pigeons")
... aka "Les quatre vérités" - Spain (original title)
4. Tout l'or du monde (1961)
5. Love and the Frenchwoman (1960) (segment "Mariage, Le")
... aka "La française et l'amour" - Italy (original title)
6. The Gates of Paris (1957)
... aka "Porte des Lilas" - France (original title)
7. The Grand Maneuver (1955)
... aka "Les grandes manoeuvres" - France (original title)
8. Beauties of the Night (1952)
... aka "Les belles de nuit" - France (original title)
9. Beauty and the Devil (1950)
... aka "La beauté du diable" - France (original title)
10. Le silence est d'or (1947)
... aka "Man About Town" - USA (review title)
... aka "Silence Is Golden" - International (English title) (literal title)
11. And Then There Were None (1945) (as Rene Clair)
... aka "Rene Clair's 'And Then There Were None'" - USA (complete title)
12. It Happened Tomorrow (1944)
... aka "René Clair's It Happened Tomorrow" - USA (complete title)
13. Forever and a Day (1943) (segment "1897") (as Rene Clair)
... aka "The Changing World" - , USA (alternative title)
14. I Married a Witch (1942) (as Rene Clair)
15. The Flame of New Orleans (1941) (as Rene Clair)
16. Break the News (1938)
17. The Ghost Goes West (1935)
18. The Last Billionaire (1934)
... aka "Le dernier milliardaire" - France (original title)
... aka "The Last Millionaire" - International (English title) (literal title)
19. July 14 (1933)
... aka "Quatorze Juillet" - France (original title)
... aka "Bastille Day" - International (English title)
20. À nous la liberté (1931)
... aka "Freedom for Us" - International (English title)
21. The Million (1931)
... aka "Le million" - France (original title)
22. Under the Roofs of Paris (1930)
... aka "Sous les toits de Paris" - France (original title)
23. Two Timid Souls (1928)
... aka "Les deux timides" - France (original title)
24. The Horse Ate the Hat (1928)
... aka "Un chapeau de paille d'Italie" - France (original title)
... aka "The Italian Straw Hat" - USA
25. La tour (1928)
26. The Prey of the Wind (1927)
... aka "La proie du vent" - France (original title)
27. The Imaginary Voyage (1925)
... aka "Le voyage imaginaire" - France (original title)
28. The Phantom of the Moulin-Rouge (1925)
... aka "Le fantôme du Moulin-Rouge" - France (original title)
29. At 3:25 (1925)
... aka "Paris qui dort" - France (original title)
... aka "Paris Asleep" - International (English title)
... aka "The Crazy Ray" - International (English title)
30. Entr'acte (1924)

Producer:
1. Tout l'or du monde (1961) (producer)
2. The Gates of Paris (1957) (producer)
... aka "Porte des Lilas" - France (original title)
3. The Grand Maneuver (1955) (producer)
... aka "Les grandes manoeuvres" - France (original title)
4. Beauties of the Night (1952) (producer)
... aka "Les belles de nuit" - France (original title)
5. Le silence est d'or (1947) (producer)
... aka "Man About Town" - USA (review title)
... aka "Silence Is Golden" - International (English title) (literal title)
6. And Then There Were None (1945) (producer) (as Rene Clair)
... aka "Rene Clair's 'And Then There Were None'" - USA (complete title)
7. Forever and a Day (1943) (producer) (as Rene Clair)
... aka "The Changing World" - , USA (alternative title)
8. I Married a Witch (1942) (producer) (uncredited)
9. The Flame of New Orleans (1941) (producer) (as Rene Clair)
10. Break the News (1938) (producer)

Actor:
1. En compagnie de Max Linder (1963) (voice) .... Narrator
... aka "Pop Goes the Cork" - USA (LD title)
2. Le sens de la mort (1922)
... aka "The Meaning of Death" - USA (literal English title)
3. Parisette (1921) .... Jean Vernier
4. L'orpheline (1921) .... Pierre Moral
5. Le lys de la vie (1920)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director:
1. Fire Over England (1937) (assistant director) (uncredited)
2. La légende de soeur Béatrix (1923) (assistant director)
... aka "The Legend of Sister Beatrix" - USA (literal English title)
3. Le carillon de minuit (1922) (assistant director)
... aka "The Midnight Chimes" - USA (literal English title)

Editor:
1. À nous la liberté (1931) (uncredited)
... aka "Freedom for Us" - International (English title)
2. The Phantom of the Moulin-Rouge (1925)
... aka "Le fantôme du Moulin-Rouge" - France (original title)
3. At 3:25 (1925)
... aka "Paris qui dort" - France (original title)
... aka "Paris Asleep" - International (English title)
... aka "The Crazy Ray" - International (English title)

Self:
1. "Histoire du cinéma français par ceux qui l'ont fait" (1974) TV series .... Himself
2. "Cinéastes de notre temps" .... Himself (1 episode, 1969)
- René Clair (1969) TV episode .... Himself
3. Civilisation: L'homme et les images (1967) (TV) .... Himself
4. "Cinépanorama" .... Himself (2 episodes, 1959-1961)
- Episode dated 4 November 1961 (1961) TV episode .... Himself
- Episode dated 1 August 1959 (1959) TV episode .... Himself


Sources:

Films de France
IMDb
Wikipedia



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
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 Post subject: Re: Hugo Cabret Tidbit #14 ~ Le Million & René Clair
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:30 pm 
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Location: Olney, Maryland
Ok, at the beginning of the clip of The Million, I'd convinced myself that the rooftops were miniature models (how else could the camera pan like that in 1931?) when suddenly the two men appeared. Impressive!

And yes, Liz, that essay is pretty dense. Maybe if I'd studied French cinema for a couple of years . . .:perplexed:


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 Post subject: Re: Hugo Cabret Tidbit #14 ~ Le Million & René Clair
PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:29 pm 
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Impressive, indeed, fansmom! Just wait until tomorrow. There will be some TZ moments.

I just love the atmospheric quality of Clair's films. I think he is very artistic.



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
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 Post subject: Re: Hugo Cabret Tidbit #14 ~ Le Million & René Clair
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:23 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:07 am
Posts: 793
Many thanks for sharing the films...I love the contrast, from Melies fantastical creations through the Lumiere brothers' realism to Clair's story-telling. They all still echo in today's films...I can easily imagine Keaton and Clair putting their heads together, and ending up with something Bruckheimer would love. And if Melies and Gilliam ever met, the image wouldn't even stay on the screen...Michael Mann and the Lumieres? (I'm starting to like this -)


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 Post subject: Re: Hugo Cabret Tidbit #14 ~ Le Million & René Clair
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:11 pm 
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Scorsese and Méliès? Let's not go there......yet. :shhh:

In case you haven't seen this post on the Porch by Emma, here's the latest on Hugo, the film:




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You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
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