ONE NIGHT IN PARIS is the British remake of the Austrian film PREMIERE. Not only does it borrow that film's title, characters, plot and music, but it also uses shots straight from its negative! After all, mounting big Busby Berkeley style show-numbers on such a lavish scale required efficiency. The play is set in a then-contemporary Parisian theatre on the opening night of a new musical play. Judy Kelly stars as the star, Carmen Daviot (although the long shots of her singing, and indeed the voice, come from the original actress and a new English language singer respectively!). As the movie opens, she's fending off the advances of the theatre producer who sacked the incumbent actress Lydia Lavalle (Joan Marion) to get her the part. Carmen is also dealing with the jealousy o fher ex-lover and co-star Rene Nissen (Hugh Williams) - an actor who is promptly sacked by the producer and while stopping the jilted actress from shooting him, admits it would be no loss if she had. So, motives abound, and as the stage show gets into a big song-and-dance number set in a speakeasy, with shots fired, so the impresario is killed. Luckily for us, Inspector Bonnard (John Lodge) is in the audience, complete with a buffoonish Captain-Hastings-like side-kick, ready to solve the mystery. The actors are interrogated as the show goes on, complete with a re-staging of the assassination during the interval.
The resulting film holds up well. It looks handsome, the costumes are lavish, as are the song-and-dance numbers. Okay, it looks odd to see our leading lady in a long shot clearly mouthing lyrics in another language to the sound-track but other than that one is never brought out of the film. And if the mystery plot is solved in a rather convenient manner, there's some satisfaction in the tricks that bring about the final deduction, and fans of murder mystery will enjoy it. And despite the style of acting that can appear stilted to modern eyes, I discerned some genuine emotion in the lead actors and was emotionally engaged in knowing what happened next.
PREMIERE has a running time of 71 minutes and was rated A by the then British censor.
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