French Love Stories • 1h 33m
Directed by Marc Allégret • Drama • With Jean Marais, Dany Robin, Jeanne Moreau • 1953 • 97 minutes
JULIETTA is a romantic comedy with the whimsical energy of a hummingbird. Dany Robin stars as the eponymous demoiselle, a flighty, impulsive pixie in white gloves who is engaged to an older prince, but already fantasizes about being his widow. On a train trip back to Paris she misses her train while returning a cigarette case to Andre (Jean Marais), a lawyer with a sprawling manor house in the country. Debacles pile up until Julietta decides she’d rather stay in the decaying mansion than get married at all, even if it means hiding in the attic from Andre’s own fiancée, the high-strung and spoiled Rosie (Jeanne Moreau, in her fourth year of making movies at age 25).
Not unlike a Rock Hudson-Doris Day farce of the day, replete with mistaken identities, scrambling set-pieces, accidental kidnappings, etc., Marc Allegret’s film pops its balls in the air and keeps them there. Robin and Moreau are both glowing and hilarious, even if it’s Marais that holds the film together, dashing up and down staircases in a harried sweat, trying to keep the inadvertently sequestered and ridiculously irresponsible teen in his house from being found out. The story delivers its own payload of French eccentricity, finding sunlit pleasure in nonconformism and in the blithe rejection of social rules. Photographed with a breathtaking silver streak by master DP Henri Alekan (LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE), JULIETTA is a champagne-bubbly postwar delight too long unseen by U.S. audiences.
“One of Marc Allégret’s slickest and most inspired comedies is this hectic ménage à trois farce, a film which effectively combines the elements of social satire, rom-com and vaudeville into one heady gag-packed concoction.” — FrenchFilms.org
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