Désiré (1937)

Désiré (1937)
  • 325
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 1937 ()
  • Running time: 92 min
  • Original Title: Désiré
  • Voted: 325

Shavian social satire. Odette is an actress who's now the mistress of a government minister. Her household of cook, maid, and chauffeur needs a valet. On the eve of going with the minister to Deauville, she engages Désiré, a robust and talkative man, even through his most recent employer, a countess, intimates improprieties. Things go well for a short time: the wealthy talk about the servants, the servants talk about their employers. Then, Désiré has explicit dreams about Odette; his outbursts wake the maid in the next room nightly. Odette has the same dream each night, awaking the minister and his jealousy. Is there any decorous way to handle these subconscious attractions?

1Sacha GuitryDésiré Tronchais, valet de chambre
2Jacqueline DelubacOdette Cléry
3Jacques BaumerFelix Montignac
4Saturnin FabreAdrien Corniche
  • One of the best of Guitry's filmed plays by 10

    In "Désiré," Guitry gives himself a quite out-of-the-ordinary vehicle. Frankly, I had become rather tired of his usual pater familias-type character, and it is refreshing to see him in the role of a servant -- a wise, extremely sophisticated valet de chambre, but a servant nonetheless. Oddly, this film somewhat calls to mind Genet's "The Maids," in plot and even, strangely enough, a bit in tone (though it's very funny, funnier even than the usual Guitry comedy). Altogether a very unusual Guitry! Jacqueline Delubac is her usual charming self, Pauline Carton (the French Thelma Ritter, one could say) is as always excellent, and Arletty is seen in her only principal role in a Guitry film (though she is also seen in cameos -- one very wild! -- in two other Guitrys). Also excellent in a small but difficult role is Saturnin Fabre. One is hardly conscious that this is "filmed theater." Yes, there is a lot of talk, but the film-making is swift, sophisticated and inventive. Very enjoyable.

  • Fun comedy by 8

    A delightful French masters/servants farce not too far removed from The Rules of the Game, the most famous film of this genre. Sacha Guitry plays Jacqueline Delubac's new valet. Delubac isn't entirely sure that she's done the right thing by hiring him. He comes with a reputation for trying to seduce his mistresses. He swears it's all a misunderstanding, and her boyfriend, a minister of the government (Jacques Baumer), convinces her that it'll be all right. But just the suggestion of a possible servant/mistress sexual relationship starts to give both servant and mistress strong sexual dreams about each other, which makes neither of them happy. Worse yet, each are convinced that the other (as well as the other servants) can hear them talk in their dreams. This is quite an enjoyable film, very witty and well acted. It doesn't amount to a lot, and there are some dialogue scenes that go on for too long (it is an adaptation of one of Guitry's plays, but he directs it quite well so it isn't often static), but it's fun. Co-starring Arletty of Children of Heaven fame.

  • Guitry's Movie About How He Is Attracted To So Many Women, And They To Him by 7

    Sacha Guitry is Désiré, a valet who goes to work for Jacqueline Delubac (Guitry's wife at the time). He has a cloud over his head. His last employer wrote him a good reference, but over the phone intimates that something embarassing happened that caused him to leave.

    Delubac is the mistress of Jacques Baumer,a pleasant but stuffy cabinet minister. The three of them, plus cook Pauline Carton and lady's maid Arletty head off to Deauville, when there is a problem. Delubac and Guitry have loud erotic dreams about each other.

    It's clearly a one-set play opened up for the screen. It's a witty affair that mocks the institution of marriage and class, and Guitry has written himself some very funny monologues, and a very funny dinner scene which includes Saturnin Fabre as a rude rake who propositions Delubac in front of his deaf wife, Alys Delonce. Looking at the movie, one can see how it was opened up, and wonder if it would play better on the stage -- particularly with such a fine cast.

    Guitry's plays often mocked marriage, and it's easy to understand why; he was married five times,making one think of the saying that insanity is to make the same mistake over and again. The story is that in 1918, his first wife told him she had been praying at a church -- one that Guitry knew had just been destroyed by German guns. The divorce soon followed.

    It's a fine story, and given Guitry's marriages and plays, it's easy to believe. One should, however, hesitate to accept the word of a humorous story teller. Sometimes they make up stories.

  • Sacha Guitry writes himself another juicy role by 4

    Sacha Guitry writes himself another juicy role, this time as a butler that all of the women in the house find irresistible. He is hired by the beautiful Jacqueline Delubac, or rather talks himself into being hired, after a questionable reference from his former employer who implicated him in a love affair (of course!). He has to promise to keep his hands off her, but is overheard speaking her name in the night while having "erotic dreams". This leads to many problems, especially when she starts having the same dreams. He finally professes his love for her in a long-winded speech and promptly quits. There is one funny scene, mostly unrelated to the rest of the film, with an old deaf woman at dinner, but otherwise this is just another insufferable vanity piece for Guitry.

  • A good but not great movie well worth seeing by 7

    This movie probably deserves a 6, but I gave it a 7 because it gave me so much pleasure. It is far from a great movie. If it began as a play, I could well believe it: it is, indeed, very talky. And, unlike in Les Perles de la couronne, which is much better and much funnier, there are long speeches. Granted, Guitry delivers them at breakneck speed and yet with total clarity, leaving you astounded, as if you were at the Opera and the soprano had just finished a passage of brilliant fioratura at breakneck speed, with all the notes faultless. It is a bravura performance on his part - hey, he wrote his own lines, and in this movie he gave himself all the good ones - and the other roles are in his shadow. So it is very much worth watching him perform, strange hair and all. He delivers his lines magnificently. But the plot, what little there is, is obvious, the characters not interesting. Pauline Delubac is radiantly beautiful, but she doesn't get much to do in this movie. One feels that she is wasted.

    I suppose one could say, to use an over-used metaphor, that it is like a soufflé. Delicious, but basically a puff pastry that leaves little once it has been consumed.

1Jean Bacheletcinematographer
2Adolphe Borchardcomposer
3Myriam Borsoutskyeditor
4Serge Sandbergproducer
5Jean Perrierproduction_designer