The story of the cheat begins and ends with personal misfortune. When he was a young
boy, our hero was caught stealing money from the family shop. As a punishment, he
was not allowed to join his family on their picnic. They ate mushrooms and died
of food poisoning, he survived and was placed in the care of his unscrupulous aunt and
uncle, who intended to rob him of his inheritance. Years later, our hero ends up
as a croupier in a casino at Morocco. There, he is about to embark at what looks
like being a very lucrative career - as a professional cheat.
Regarded as one of Sacha Guitry's best films, Le Roman d'un tricheur
is a hugely
entertaining comedy, featuring some unforgettable visual comic gags. Having no dialogue,
the film is perhaps best described a silent film with voice-over commentary, in which
the film's central character (the cheat, played by Guitry himself) narrates the story
of his life.
One of the director's lighter works, Guitry made the film as a welcome diversion from
his more traditional (and very demanding) theatrical pieces. The film has an auto-biographical
element, with Guitry painting himself in the role of the cheat, whose up and down fortunes
in the film reflect the successes and failures in his own life.
© James Travers
The above article was written for filmsdefrance.com and should not be reproduced in any medium without the author's permission.
Other recommended comedy/drama films of the 1930s from France that you may want to consider are: Jacques Deval's Club de femmes
Georges Lacombe's Derrière la façade
Marc Allégret's Fanny
Jacques Feyder's Les Gens du voyage
Jean Renoir's La Règle du jeu