“Innocents In Paris” is a British-French comedy about manners that was created in 1953 and features a great cast. A group of Brits, from different backgrounds, descend upon the airport unaffected by anything except one thing: they all want to go to Paris for a memorable weekend. Sir Norman Barker, a high ranking government official (Alastair Sim), is going over to meet his Russian counterpart; Gwladys Inglott, an elderly lady of leisure (Margaret Rutherford), wants to see the Louvre and enjoy art; Susan Robbins (Claire Bloom), is seeking romance; and Andy McGregor (James Copeland), similarly seeks to date with destiny. The stories are interwoven at a similar pace, and the ending is a triumphant surprise for all involved.
The ensemble cast is what makes ‘Innocents In Paris’ so enjoyable. Margaret Rutherford and Alastair Sim were at the top of their careers at that time. Sim had only played the role of Scrooge, which was a career-defining part in his life just two years before. Rutherford had starred in the critically acclaimed “The Importance Of Being Earnest” the year before. These actors are worth watching and they show that each one plays to their strengths.
Alastair Sim (scottish but playing English) is given ample material to show his skills as a comedy actor. The first scene is his attempt to smile as he departs the airport. But the most important scenes are the ones where his pompous diplomat exterior crumbles when he becomes obsessed with a erotic dancer and becomes intoxicated by Russian vodka. Anything for Queen and Country. Rutherford, a similarly eccentric, batty old woman, is familiar as an eccentric, batty old lady who admires imitation Mona Lisas far more than the real thing. As she is caught in customs alongside a fake Da Vinci, her delivery of the line “Is he a art lover?” is hilarious. Watch Innocents for free on https://gomovies.sx/
These stories are a great addition to the charming, gentle comedy. Claire Bloom is shown around Paris in the company of Claude Dauphin, an older but more sophisticated local. He is the epitome Gallic cool. Their love story includes champagne, snails, and a visit to the lido. James Copeland, a working-class Scotsman from lower social strata, finds love at the fun fair with a local girl after falling in love. In this installment, Louis de Funes, a French comedian, plays a taxicab driver who becomes increasingly angry.
One of the problems with ‘Innocents In Paris’ is that the storylines of the main characters are never lost. The characters are unaware of each other as they go about their daily lives. It would have been wonderful to see Sim and Rutherford share scenes. It feels like a missed chance. It is inevitable that viewers will be more emotionally connected to some stories than others. There’s enough to keep viewers entertained for at least an hour.
“Innocents In Paris” is a light comedy that’s fun and entertaining. It’s also a good curate’s egg. There are some great scenes in the film, but there are also less interesting ones. The stories of love and romance are common themes in many of them. Filming on location in Paris and surrounding areas helps lift the production and makes it easy to see. The restoration of the black-and-white print is sharp and doesn’t show creakiness. This makes the Blu-ray the best way to see the film in all its glory. Agnes Poirier discusses the film and its place within cinema history in a special feature.