This oh so disappointing Rene Clair British production broke no news for me—it nearly broke my heart. To watch the Clair touch dissolve into the thinness of this banal production is very disarranging indeed.
The story, which never really matters when in the hands of expert directors, got away with its own trivialities with hardly a subtle cinematic touch of its own. And there was material in the mad scheme of two actors wanting publicity to the extent of staging an imaginary murder to get it, enough to shake the most lethargic director out of his cigar-soothed sleep.
But not Sc, Rene Clair this time. He sleeps and steeps and allows the film to be as dully efficient as Deep, Unbroken the usual run of Slumber British films before we had our last drive towards integrity and imagination. Everything had been lost that was in the original French films, including that valuable social satire.
At one single point only did I recognise the hand of Clair in Break the News—in a really ha ha sequence when our English Jack Buchanan, mistaken for a Ruritanian revolution and imprisoned in Ruritania's fastest gaol, breaks his prison, dresses in a Royalist uniform and rushes out into a wild revolution such as other countries outside Ruritania practise.
The Royalist cap is a definite menace to Jack, so what does he do? The subtle unobvious Clair brain works at last, and Jack arms himself with the unassailable weapon of two caps—a Royalist in one hand, a Revolutionary in the other to be used accordingly as lightning-change circumstance dictates. Lovely are Jack's quickchange hat antics and long to be remembered when everything, everything, including Cole Porter's music, June Knight's dresses, Maurice Chevalier's smile and Jack Buchanan's wit, have been forgotten and forgiven.