Boudu Saved From Drowning
(Boudu sauvé des eaux)

Screening on Film
Directed by Jean Renoir.
With Michel Simon, Charles Granval, Marcelle Hainia.
France, 1932, 35mm, black & white, 85 min.
French with English subtitles.
Print source: Institut Français

Renoir’s fourth, last and most fruitful collaboration with the great Swiss actor Michel Simon (in the only film he ever produced) provided both with a considerable canvas on which to exercise their greatest strengths: Renoir executes his most pointed satire of the middle classes, and Simon delivers a charming, slapstick comic performance as Boudu, a hapless tramp who, depressed after losing his dog, decides to take his own life by jumping into the Seine. Liberal-minded bourgeois bookseller Lestingois (wonderfully played by Charles Granval) jumps into the river to save the drowning Boudu and proceeds to adopt and attempt to domesticate the old hobo. The comic scenes that follow provide ample opportunities for Simon to shine in a role that Renoir thought “might have been made for that brilliant actor.”

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