The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo
Colman eyeing the five million strikes an attitude that certainly evokes the famous rendition of the song in Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, that is, the singer.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the baccarat bank is closed for the night, it withdraws. You are to be congratulated, Sir, it has been a long time since the bank surrendered.”
He tucks the boodle in bed beside him afterwards at his hotel, for safekeeping, and throws his arm around it like a lover.
He is offered the royal suite and a yacht “for, possibly, a three or four day cruise”, compliments of the Old Beach, “there’s a note of sincerity about all this that really sinks deep into my heart, but into each life some rain must fall. This is beginning to look like your shower.”
He cannot be induced to return to the gambling tables, “vile publicity” is the result.
“Those words he uttered he must be made to eat,” on the unrepeatable.
“Farewell, Monte Carlo, farewell forever, and thank you.” On the Nice-Monte Carlo-Paris train he meets blonde Joan Bennett traveling with Colin Clive. Switzerland, says Clive, “by George, it is Paradise!”
A chef-d’œuvre from a director not so well remembered, but Preston Sturges has The Lady Eve for that.
“Sometimes it seems as if anybody can write scenarios,” wrote Andre Sennwald of the New York Times, this one became Champagne for Caesar (dir. Richard Whorf).
Time Out Film Guide, “brisk romantic comedy”.
René Clair has Flame of New Orleans, if it comes to that, and it does.
“Malarkey”, says Halliwell’s Film Guide, citing Variety, “lacks dash”, to top that off.
And the key that winds the clock and makes the whole thing go? Russian émigrés in Paris (cf. Dieterle’s Grand Slam). Who is a better director, at the Café Russe, where the magic words are, “victory and cash”, particularly when Comrade Lenin puts the kibosh on the festivities, “is this what you call a restaurant?”
The sucker restored to his fortunes (“I was a man of destiny”) goes “to Paradise” on the Paris-Troyes-Berne-Interlaken Express wearing his new fur-trimmed watered-silk dressing gown with the Romanoff crest, the blonde is there, “isn’t this compartment C?”
“In my opinion, you’re far more beautiful than the Alps. Do you mind?”
“Are you given to spells?”
Clive is her brother, she resists all advances.
“My friend, I’ve decided not to give you my system, it would only bring you unhappiness, but not enough!”
He perseveres, “ah, Ivan, I regard this splendid fellow’s condition as a magnificent and touching tribute to the beautiful and saintly woman, Miss Helen Berkeley.”
She has a story, impending marriage, a rich older man, “if you like melodrama,” the brother needs money, five million.
“A lot of trouble!”
“... you... you darling.”
Back to Monte Carlo, “unfortunately, I have a very weak character.”
She gives up the game. All three parties go to Monte Carlo, anyway.
“The prodigal son” returns to the Sporting Club.
Such a brilliant film. The restatement of the opening theme is led up to with a dollying POV that goes to the reserved seat at the gambling table, “good evening, M. Gallard!”
A very sad evening at baccarat, “very ingeniously managed!”
The tide turns, “he’s still winning, horribly.” Six million, this time, gone by the boards with a huit and a neuf to the bank.
“My sympathies, Sir. You came so close to it. It was tragic.”
“It happens,” to prove that lightning never strikes twice in the Baccarat Room.
She is the vedette at Club Vendome, he takes his dress suit out unexpectedly.
“I have one, thank you.”
It’s the Tsar’s birthday, one celebrates.