The Story of a Cheat (Le Roman d'un Tricheur) is widely regarded as one of French writer/director Sacha Guitry's best and most personal films. Guitry himself stars as a charismatic cardsharp who survives solely through the auspices of Lady Luck. The story is told almost completely in pantomime; the only voice heard is the narrator's (Guitry, but of course). Among the film's many highlights is the opening sequence, in which the young Guitry misbehaves and is banned from a family picnic--where his parents and siblings all die from eating toadstools. This segues into a side-splitting "black" gag in which an exhausted priest huffs and puffs as he tries to keep pace with the long line of coffins! It has sometimes been suggested that Sacha Guitry was telling his own life story in Story of a Cheat, equating the ins and outs of the film industry with the chicanery of the cardsharp.
by Hal Erickson synopsis