Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Originally released in France under the title Le Silence est D'Or, Man About Town is set in the Paris of the early 1900s. Maurice Chevalier plays a director of silent films (whose working conditions are recreated with remarkable accuracy), while Marcelle Derien is an actress whom Chevalier hopes to turn into a film star. She falls in love with her younger leading man (Francois Perier), and Chevalier, after putting up a gentle struggle, bows to the inevitability of young romance. The first postwar US/France coproduction, Man About Town won several international prizes. Unfortunately, its American version was hampered by a misguided translation device: Rather than dub the actors' voices or utilize subtitles, the American distributor chose to have Maurice Chevalier narrate the film in English and comment upon its action. The resultant effect took the audience "out" of the picture when it should have been involved with the plot, and this clumsy translation technique was never used again. The best moment in the Americanized Man About Town was Chevalier's opening musical number, directed not by Le Silence est D'Or's Rene Clair but by RKO film editor Robert Pirosh--who also trimmed the film by 17 minutes for U.S. audiences.
actor, protegé, director, love, love-triangle, May-December-romance, filmmaker, girl, behind-the-scenes, film-producer, handsome, studio