Un chapeau de paille d'Italie (The Italian Straw Hat). 1928. France. Directed and adapted by René Clair. Based on a play by Eugene Labiche, Marc Michel. With Albert Préjean, Alexis Bondireff, Paul Ollivier. 35mm. Silent, with French main titles, English intertitles. Musical score by Rinaldo Alessandrini. Approx. 84 min.
“For René Clair, the Labiche comedy had a quite particular appeal. It was not so much that its irreverence delighted him, or its unflagging pace, or its sharply delineated characters—though these qualities undoubtedly attracted him, as the film which he based on it most unquestionably reveals. Now in The Italian Straw Hat he was beautifully able to humor his own predilection for this past by adapting Labiche’s play into a film which was not merely staged but costumed in the period of the cinema’s birth but which was to look as though it had actually been filmed in 1895.”