Seven Faces (1929)

Genres - Crime, Fantasy  |   Run Time - 78 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Adapted from Richard Connell's short story A Friend of Napoleon, Seven Faces was a tour de force for the multitalented Paul Muni (in his second screen appearance). Although only 33 at the time, Muni is most convincing as elderly Papa Chibuou, caretaker of a Parisian wax museum. When the museum goes bust, its most popular wax effigies go on the auction block. Unable to meet the price demanded for his favorite statue, that of Napoleon Bonaparte, Chibou steals the statue and is convicted of theft. Defense attorney Georges Dufeyl (Russell Gleason), who happens to be in love with Helene (Marguerite Churchill), the daughter of the trial judge (Lester Lonergan, who also co-directed the film), sympathetically takes Chibou's case on a pro bono basis. The film's best scene finds Chibou dreaming that he is offering Dufeyl and Helene romantic advice in the guises of six of the museum's wax figures, including Napoleon, Don Juan, Svengali and Franz Schubert. Although shown to excellent advantage, Paul Muni wasn't happy with the film medium and stayed off screen for over a year after the completion of Seven Faces. If Muni was unhappy, imagine the discomfort of Broadway headliner Tom Patricola, whose supporting role in the film went completely uncredited.

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Keywords

advice, ballet-dance, caregiver, dreams, fantasy, lawyer, love, reality, robbery, romance, wax-museum