A Scandal in Paris

United Kingdom | 1946 | 100 minutes | Douglas Sirk

This rarely seen period piece from Douglas Sirk, loaded with witty dialogue, sparkling set pieces, and a charming monkey named Satan, stars George Sanders as an 18th-century French con man who goes from stealing women's garters to becoming Paris' chief of police.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

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Before the dazzling colors, forbidden romances, and unavoidably tragic ends of Douglas Sirk's better-known melodramas, there was A Scandal in Paris . Taking place in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this period piece recalls the life of actual con man and womanizer Eugène François Vidocq from his birth in a dingy prison cell to his rise as France's Chief of Police and his life as a criminal in between. After escaping yet another stint in jail, Vidocq and his right-hand man, Emile, make it to Paris, where they end up lodging with a friendly (and wealthy) family whose patriarchal head happens to be the Minister of Police. With dollar signs in their eyes, Vidocq and Emile see plenty of thievish opportunity. But what Vidocq doesn't see is the moral battle he'll have to engage in when he falls in love with the Minister's daughter. George Sanders acts the part of this criminal Casanova with perfect droll charisma and the driest of wit, while Akim Tamiroff emphasizes blundering comic relief as his money-hungry sidekick. A Scandal in Paris is equal parts a whodunit comedy and a romance—but not, of course, without flourishes of Sirkian melodrama, ending with murder and a final fight on a spinning carousel.

Director Biography
Film director Douglas Sirk, whose reputation blossomed in the generation after his 1959 retirement from Hollywood filmmaking, was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1897. He is known for his films All That Heaven Allows (1955), Written on the Wind (1957) and All I Desire (1953). One of the most influencial directors of his era, he died in 1997.

Sponsored by Francis Ford Coppola Winery, KIXI 880 AM

  • Director: Douglas Sirk
  • Principal Cast: George Sanders, Signe Hasso, Carole Landis, Akim Tamiroff
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Year: 1946
  • Running Time: 100 minutes
  • Producer: Arnold Pressburger
  • Screenplay: Ellis St. Joseph
  • Cinematographers: Guy Roe, Eugen Schüftan
  • Editors: Al Joseph
  • Music: Hanns Eisler, Heinz Roemheld
  • Filmography: Imitation of Life (1959); A Time to Love and a Time to Die (1958); Battle Hymn (1957); Written on the Wind (1956); All That Heaven Allows (1955);
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP