Falbalas – Cinema News | Film-News.co.uk
Jacques Becker (director)
25 October 2021 (published)
PARIS FRILLS is the English title and is perhaps more appropriate for this eminently watchable film; most of which takes place in a Parisian fashion house, namely that of the brilliant Parisian designer of “ladies’ dresses” Philippe Clarence (Belgian actor Raymond Rouleau). This may seem like an unlikely setting, nonetheless it is the one that works well.
Philippe has a rather magnetic personality and runs his fashion house on a tight sling … well, a sloppy attitude isn’t the key to success. This absolute man charmer is also an incorrigible Don Juan when it comes to ladies and very few pretty women are safe from Philippe’s wandering gaze – whether they are models or employees. One of her models, Anne-Marie (Françoise Lugagne) is also an abandoned lover but continues to work (and mentally torture herself) in her fashion house. Although Philippe treats her like a doormat, she still holds a mighty flame for Lothario’s last day. After seeing what is happening at the show, we meet Daniel Rousseau (Jean Chevrier), a good friend from Philippi. Daniel runs a silk manufacturing business that supplies Philippe’s business and enthusiastically explains to his friend that he is getting married soon. By meeting the charming future bride, Micheline Lafaune (Micheline Presle), our fashion designer and love rat, is immediately won over. He immediately tells her that as a gift, he will design her wedding dress (besides, the dresses in the film were all created by the big dog Marcel Rochas). Obviously Philippe’s motivations are far from honorable and it is about the woman about to marry one of his best friends! Fortuitously for the rascal in question the rather awkward Daniel must be absent for a few weeks (bad timing) to correct poorly woven silk with which Philippe is not happy.
At first, Micheline struggles to resist Philippe’s overtures, but the devil ends up making his way and it looks like the wedding is called off as Micheline now thinks she fell in love with Philippe after taking her for a drink. and dine and design weirder outfits. for her. Tongues start to stir, Annie-Marie is bitter and Solange (Gabrielle Dorziat), the creative backbone of Philippe (and due to her age one of the few women he does not court) can see problems arise. prepare well before he can. Even after Daniel returns from his trip, Micheline lies to him and finds excuses to explain to him why she has to leave the house, in truth if she has a secret meeting after another with Philippe… who has the effrontery of “advising” his friend Daniel after he confesses to her that his girlfriend’s behavior seems erratic and that she no longer seems so enthusiastic about the idea of marriage. The pig then tells Daniel to be more patient because “women are fickle creatures” before asking Micheline to go out for another meeting in a park. Here he suddenly tells her that it was just a little fun and that for the next few weeks he will be incredibly busy with his new collection and therefore not have much time for her. Micheline, needless to say, isn’t too happy to know that she’s been used in this way… being his creative muse when it suits her but now that he’s busy she can get rid of it.
Despite this blow, Micheline maintains her date for the fitting of the wedding dress on condition that Philippe stays away from her – but before she knows it and he knows it, the old attraction resurfaces. Then Daniel arrives at the fashion salon to discuss the wedding dress when he finally realizes that something is going on between his friend and his future wife. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the friendship between the two is obviously heading for a collision, but things are going to get even more tragic. Philippe’s ex-Anne-Marie listens to a conversation he has in the living room with Micheline and, in despair, she commits suicide. Philippe then reassesses his own naughty behavior and proposes to Micheline. It seems unlikely for an all-time love rat – but we’re all different, aren’t we? Moreover, Daniel is ready to support the aggrieved Micheline throughout. While she still has feelings for Philippe (who isn’t that bad), tragedy is bound to ensue in a love triangle like this …
It’s really a French film, not that there is anything wrong with it. The French have never suffered from a stiff upper lip and in the long run it would seem to be doing better (maybe Napoleon had the last laugh after all) The movie looks good and totally succeeds in hold our attention without being a minute too long. He has a solid cast to start with with great lead performance.
Bonus material for this wonderfully restored Blu-ray release includes:
‘Falabals: a Family Affair – interview with the director’s son / Fashion & Clothing with Jean Paul Gaultier / Auditions and restored version / Interview with Micheline Presle (recorded twenty years ago) – Presle, at the time of writing this review , is still with us before his 100th birthday!