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The King Of Paris Review

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Philippe Noiret is Victor Derval, whose reign as King of the Boulevards is ended by his involvement with Lisa (Varga), a Hungarian exile who exploits her status as his mistress to further her acting career and bewitch both his fragile son (Blanc) and Paris' leading playwright (Jacques Roman).

★★★★★

Echoes of All About Eve and A Star Is Born reverberate around this paean to the 1930s, when thespians appeared in "talkies", but felt sullied by the lucrative experience. With its literate text and emphasis on performance, Maillet's film is a throwback to the "Tradition of Quality" that was swept away by the Nouvelle Vague. Yet, its antiquity gives it an authenticity that partway atones for the overdeliberate staging and precious speechifying.

Bestriding the piece is Philippe Noiret, as Victor Derval, whose reign as King of the Boulevards is ended by his involvement with Lisa (Varga), a Hungarian exile who exploits her status as his mistress to further her acting career and bewitch both his fragile son (Blanc) and Paris' leading playwright (Jacques Roman). His is a tour de force this melodrama scarcely deserves.

A tour de force from Philippe Norriet this melodrama scarcely deserves.

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