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RenÚ Clair
Director / Screenwriter / Producer
1898 - 1981
Born November 11, Paris, France
Key Production Countries: France, USA
Key Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Drama, Romance, Fantasy Comedy, Romantic Drama, Romantic Fantasy
Key Collaborators: Paul Ollivier (Leading Character Player), Raymond Cordy (Leading Character Player), Albert Prejean (Leading Player), Louisette Hautecour (Editor), Georges Van Parys (Composer), Leon Barsacq (Production Designer), Frank Clifford (Producer), Georges Perinal (Cinematographer), Renee Le Henaff (Editor), Annabella (Leading Player)

Highly Recommended: Under the Roofs of Paris (1930)*, └ nous la libertÚ (1931)*, Le Million (1931)*
Recommended: Paris qui dort (1923), Entr'acte (1924)*, The Italian Straw Hat (1927)*, Quatorze Juillet (1932), And Then There Were None (1945)
Worth a Look: The Phantom of the Moulin Rouge (1925), The Ghost Goes West (1936), I Married a Witch (1942), It Happened Tomorrow (1944), Man About Town (1947), Beauties of the Night (1952), The Grand Maneuver (1955), Gates of Paris (1957)
* Listed in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films section.

Links: [ Amazon ] [ IMDB ] [ TCMDB ] [ All-Movie Guide ] [ Film Reference ] [ Films de France Profile ] [ The Art of Sound by RenÚ Clair ] [ Wikipedia ] [ Classic Film and Television Home Page ] [ Senses of Cinema Article (2001) ] [ UbuWeb: Entr'acte ]
Books: [ The Films of RenÚ Clair: Exposition and Analysis
Le Million (1931)Under the Roofs of Paris (1930)A Nous la Liberte (1931)And Then There Were None (1945)
  "Clair now looks something less than the major director he was known as in 1935. His work since that first venturing outside France has seldom lacked amusement or a sense of fantasy, but it does seem lightweight. Even his finest films - those made in the first experiment of sound - are rather precious and too vaguely opposed to "progress" when set beside L'┬ge d'or, L'Atalante, Boudu, or Toni. Clair's world is brilliantly conceived and wrought, but it remains self-contained." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)  
  "Although Clair made several English-language and Hollywood films, his American period is generally blamed for his decline. The trouble with Clair's American career is that he was typed for fantasy and other fluff, and could never escape his niche... └ Nous la LibertÚ, Le Million,  Sous les Toits de Paris, The Italian Straw Hat retain a certain classic value, but Clair, once too good to be called even the French Lubitsch, now seems more like the French Mamoulian." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)  
  "Although briefly associated with the French avant-garde (his second film, Entr'acte, remains a masterpiece of pure cinema), from the very start he considered film as a medium of entertainment. He developed into one of the most original stylists in world cinema, a complete filmmaker who always wrote or collaborated on the films he directed and constantly explored the possibilities of visual form, movement and sound." - (The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994)  
  "An expert at light comedy, fantasy, and artful avant-garde productions." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)  
Please note that the rating given for this director (see top-right) is based only on the films we have seen (listed above). Films by this director that we haven't seen include The Last Millionaire (1934), The Flame of New Orleans (1941), Forever and a Day (1943), and La Beaute du Diable (1950).

"A highly respected artist in the 1920s and 30s, RenÚ Clair's career declined in the post-war period and his reputation has diminished over time. Even his best-known comedies now look somewhat mannered and over-designed, his social criticism a little fey and complacent. Nevertheless, even if he doesn't belong to the first rank, Clair was a whimsical innovator who brought charm and wit to everything he touched... Although Clair was not fond of location-shooting, his meticulously designed sets and stock characters shaped a cheery and vivacious image of Paris. Away from home, he was less comfortable. Moving first to England and then to Hollywood, Clair 's imaginative drive faltered, and he never recovered the standing he enjoyed in the early 1930s." - Tom Charity, The Rough Guide to Film

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See Also
Marcel CarnÚ
Charles Chaplin
Roy Del Ruth
Julien Duvivier
Louis Feuillade
Edmund Goulding
Gregory La Cava
Rouben Mamoulian
Marcel Pagnol
Jean Renoir
Jacques Tati
Jean Vigo


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