Le voyage imaginaire (1925)

aka The Imaginary Voyage
Article 3176 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-23-2010
Posting Date: 4-25-2010
Directed by Rene Clair
Featuring Dolly Davis, Jean Borlin, Albert Prejean
Country: France
What it is: Surreal fantasy/comedy

A timid bank clerk tries to win the heart of a female co-worker, but finds himself at odds with two other co-workers who also try to win her attention. He enters into a dream world where he must learn to overcome his timidity to win her.

Some of the above plot description may be a little inaccurate, since my copy of this silent movie only had Italian title cards, but I don’t think I’m far off the mark. The fantasy sequence that makes up most of the film, with the sequences in which our hero enters the underworld and transforms some old crones into beautiful women and the one in the wax museum where the figures come to life being the high points of the movie. This being a Rene Clair movie, it has that lightness that keeps the fantasy sequences from getting heavy handed; I find it rather fitting that one of the heroes of the wax museum sequence is a Charlie Chaplin figure come to life. There’s a bizarre alligator creature that eats clothes, a man in a cat costume, the transformation of a woman into a mouse and a man into a dog. It’s all very indescribable, but likable in its own way.

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