THE ADVENTURES OF ROBERT MACAIRE (1925)
aka Les aventures de Robert Macaire
Article 5147 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Jean Epstein
Featuring Jean Angelo, Alex Allin, Suzanne Bianchetti
What it is: Roguish adventures of a bandit
Noted bandit Robert Macaire and his faithful assistant Bertrand arrive at a new town and begin to ply their trade. But will there affections for the women they love be their undoing?
I’ve encountered Jean Epstein before. He directed that excellent, highly stylized French version of THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER from 1928. This movie is three times the length of that one and, as far as style goes, is almost distressingly ordinary. This is not to say that the movie doesn’t have its moments; Jean Angelo is truly charming in the title role, and many of the situations are rather amusing. It’s just not quite amusing enough to make you forget its three hours of length. Also, since it’s primarily about the larcenous adventures of a pair of rogues, it’s certainly marginal in the fantastic content department. However, three touches do cause it to nudge up to the fantastic. One of the tricks they play involves them disguising themselves as the ghost of a saint and a gold-smelling hog from purgatory. Then there is a minor plot element in which Bertrand mistakes someone for a ghost. The most prominent has the two bandits pulling off a phony mind-reading scam. It’s mildly entertaining, but overlong.