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The Italian Straw Hat

Posted by martinteller on January 10, 2011

Rene Clair’s comedy of manners has its clever charms: the running gags about people being confounded by their clothes and accessories, the stagey re-enactment as the hero tells his story, a 3rd act twist that I should have seen coming but didn’t. However, the film often gets bogged down in tiresome bits of business, and ends up being far too long. And the premise is so easily unraveled. There is absolutely no reason for the protagonist to allow himself to be bullied by the insane, douchebag soldier (I guess assholes in the military are universal and timeless). He did nothing wrong, owes the guy nothing, the guy holds nothing over him. All he has to do is say “fuck you, get your own fucking hat, you goddamn lunatic” and kick him out of his house. He’s got all his friends and family there. It just doesn’t make sense. Clair did wonderful things with his sound pictures, but I wonder if he lacked the particular talents to get certain ideas across in silents. This is the weakest I’ve seen by him. Rating: 6


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