Les Grandes Manoeuvres

LES GRANDES MANOEUVRES Gerard Philipe, Michele Morgan (1955, Water Bearer Films, unrated, $29.95, subtitled) Having long outgrown the surrealist gaggery of Entr’acte and having abandoned Hollywood after making flicks like I Married a Witch, director Rene Clair confected this Guys and Dolls-type souffle. A month before departing for maneuvers, pre-WWI cavalry lieutenant Philipe (imagine a nonthreatening Clark Gable) wagers he can seduce Morgan, a divorced parisienne. The film’s emotional complexity rarely exceeds that of a good Three’s Company episode, but the master craftsmanship that Clair displays — especially the ballroom set pieces — elevates the proceedings to operatic elegance. Watch for 21-year-old Brigitte Bardot as a bubbleheaded mademoiselle. B

Les Grandes Manoeuvres
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