Under the Roofs of Paris

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90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

73%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 712
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Movie Info

In the tenement slums of Paris between the world wars, impoverished street singer Albert (Albert Préjean) yearns for beautiful Romanian immigrant Pola (Pola Illery). Pola's boyfriend, local hoodlum Fred (Gaston Modot), grows jealous of Albert's constant attention to his woman and frames the hapless musician for one of his own petty crimes. But while Albert is in prison for Fred's misdeed, Pola ends up falling for Albert's faithful best friend, Louis (Edmond T. Gréville).

Cast & Crew

Albert Préjean
Albert
Pola Illery
Pola
Edmond T. Gréville
Louis
Jane Pierson
Fat Woman with Purse
Raymond Aimos
Un gars du milieu
Raoul Moretti
Music
Georges Périnal
Cinematographer
Georges Raulet
Cinematographer
R. Le Hénaff
Editor
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Critic Reviews for Sous les Toits de Paris (Under the Roofs of Paris)

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Sous les Toits de Paris (Under the Roofs of Paris)

  • Feb 22, 2012
    Director Rene Clair peaked with "Le Million" and "A Nous la Liberte" in 1931, but the previous year's "Under the Roofs of Paris" was a solid step toward those twin glories. Unfortunately, the plot of "Paris" is trivial -- just a dull neighborhood tale of a street singer, his best friend and a crook competing for the same pretty girl. But the music is what's most hard to swallow. Anyone not sentimental for wheezing Parisian accordion will cringe through these moldy tunes. And the singer's money scheme -- leading curbside sing-alongs in the hopes of peddling sheet music -- is also horribly archaic. Really, "Under the Roofs of Paris" is only notable as filmmaking. It's obviously an early talkie and, in every scene, Clair aggressively wrestles with the new technology. The line between experimentation and mere frugality isn't so clear -- many scenes take convenient shortcuts, like when inaudible dialogue in a bar seems drowned out by nearby music. Except the music has been added to silent footage in post-production, only simulating a "live," diegetic soundtrack. Such quirks are common throughout the film. Clair was ambivalent about the arrival of sound, and he steadily tweaks the medium here. Other twists include a morning alarm that is turned off by touching a shoe, a scratched "William Tell Overture" record used as score and an important fight scene that is silent except for irrelevant train noises. The momentum tends to shut down when a rare conversation occurs. And the acoustics aren't right, due to primitive miking and shooting "outdoor" scenes inside a studio. "Under the Roofs of Paris" is one of those films that's revered more because it was ahead of the curve than because it was actually so great.
    Eric B Super Reviewer

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