LES NOUVEAUX MESSIEURS
Sc.: J. Feyder, Charles Spaak, dalla commedia di Robert de Flers e Françis de Coisset. F.: Maurice Desfassiaux, Georges Périnal. Scgf.: Lazare Meerson. In.: Albert Préjean (Jean Gaillac), Gaby Morlay (Suzanne Verrier), Henry Roussel (conte di Montoire-Grandpré), Leon Arnel, Henri Valbel. P. Films Albatros. 35mm. L.: 2800 m. D.: 126′ a 20 f/s.
I must linger a bit on this film. It taught me many things, and it bluntly revealed to me difficulties that I had never imagined even existed, dangers I had been ignoring, it opened unexpected horizons for me on the social importance of cinema. It may seem amazing that I was so illuminated by a story like this. At first sight, it doesn’t seem to have the capacity. Without a doubt, few readers are unaware of the content. It was taken from a light comedy with good-natured satire by Robert de Flers and Françis de Coisset. Our political customs are poked fun at, but without severity or bitterness, in reality. (…). Moreover, when it was put on as a play, it was not cause for polemic or conflict. Yet, its imprinting on silent film was sufficient to trigger the storm. These pinpricks in photo, this good-natured irony recorded on camera, they looked like incendiary bombs, like sarcasm and insults to parliamentary institutions. What was seen at the theater as a distraction, a sometimes sharp-edged caricature, suddenly, thanks to the power of the image, took on a vehement nature, intolerable in the eyes of the censors. Such witticisms and gags put the regime in danger, they challenged public opinion, risking to provoke and corrupt it. Miracle of film, of the moving image!
Jacques Feyder, Françoise Rosay, Le cinéma notre métier, Genève, Ed. d’Art Albert Skira, 1944