Boudu (played by Michel Simon, who also produced the film) is a shaggy, foul-smelling tramp who is rescued from drowning by bourgeois Frenchman Charles Granval. Deciding to "reform" Boudu, Granval invites the hobo into his home. Boudu returns the favor by turning the household upside down and by conducting an affair with Granval's wife Marcella Hainia. All ends happily--for Boudu at least--when the tramp wins the national lottery and marries maid Severine Lerczynska, who is so delighted that she ends her own affair with the hypocritical Granval. Boudu decides to forego his new-found wealth for his previous carefree existence, leaving the greedy Lerczynska in the lurch. Filmed in 1932, Boudu Saved From Drowning was not released in the US until 1967, at which time it was universally praised by the wine-and-cheese critics. A less subtle but not less hilarious American remake, 1986's Down and Out in Beverly Hills, starred Nick Nolte, Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler (this film spawned a brief, heavily laundered 1987 TV sitcom).
by Hal Erickson synopsis