Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo (1935)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo is a sparkling romantic comedy. Though somewhat formulaic, Nunnally Johnson and Howard Ellis Smith's screenplay has bounce, verve, and wit, and if the plot's gears occasionally squeak a little, that's easy enough to forgive. Modern audiences may not respond to Man as readily as audiences did in 1935, when people were more familiar with the plight of Russians forced to flee after the Revolution, but fortunately the historical aspects of the film take second place to the characters. In the title role, Ronald Colman is the perfect romantic leading man, delivering the kind of elegant yet appealing performance that is much more difficult to achieve than it appears and is impossible to fake. He carries the film with his charisma and ability, and it's a noteworthy achievement. A young Joan Bennett shines in a role that is a bit clich├ęd, holding her own against both Colman and Colin Clive, who delivers a deliciously sinister turn. Nigel Bruce also scores as the valet, and the supporting players are well cast down to the smallest role. Stephen R. Roberts's direction is deft, and there's some attractive photography (though clearly not on-location). The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo is terribly lightweight, but entirely winning.