The Suitor

81 minutes 2012

This swell debut feature by French comedian Pierre Etaix was released in 1962, but it would have gone over just as well in 1922: the opening sight gag—a nerdy young man (Etaix) tears a girly photo from a magazine, then pins up the scientific chart on the reverse side of the page—harks back to the silent era in its instant illumination of character. The man’s long-suffering parents want him to find a wife and move out of their house, which leads him into a series of romantic misadventures and, ultimately, an infatuation with a sexy chanteuse. Though Etaix broke into movies as a gag man for Jacques Tati, The Suitor is more heavily reminiscent of Buster Keaton, especially the extended sequence in which the hero gets mixed up with a drunken floozy at a nightclub and has to drive her home and put her to bed. In French with subtitles.

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