Thursday, 21 June 2012

Paris En Fleures

Paris En Fleures was a revue performed at the Casino de Paris. Launched in November 1925 starring the Simone Roseray and Jacques Capella, the Dolly Sisters, Maurice Chevalier and Yvonne Vallee. Simone Roseray and Jacques Capella's dances in a Grecian number, India of a thousand and one nights and Versailles in the autumn were greatly admired.

Lowry refers to the revue to emphasis a point he is making in the film script for Tender Is The Night about the creation of atmosphere in the film with the use of signs, words and advertisements of Paris in 1926; "Here the signs are not only historically accurate - your research department being at the moment the memory of one of your writers - and Paris en Fleures at the Casino de Paris" (The Cinema of Malcolm Lowry: a scholarly edition of Lowry's "Tender is the Night" Edited by Miguel Mota and Paul Tiessen Pg. 75). We can assume that Lowry must have recalled a poster of the revue or even seen the revue on his 1926 visit to the city with The Leys School. He alludes to the poster again; "Nearby the Metro is held a moment: Maurice Chevalier's grin" and later; "Cut to our party getting out of the taxi in front of the Casino de Paris. We see the billboards with posters of Chevalier - the show Paris En Fleures. (Pg. 78). Later in the film script the posters are reprised in another scene set in Paris (Pg.129).

We can only speculate why Lowry refers to this poster. He may be using the poster in the same way as he did with one of Maria Landrock in Under The Volcano - using later knowledge of a person's politics or role to post-date on an earlier period in the person's life - though the reader or viewer would know about the person's politics. When Lowry was writing the film script, Chevalier had been accused on collaborating with the Nazis during the occupation of France.

Lowry may also be drawing on the background of the other performers in the Revue -Simone Roseray and Jacques Capella and their links to the Riveria - the setting of part of Tender Is The Night. In the Spring of 1924 that they came to prominence after making a splash on the Riviera in early 1924, especially in Nice, they became one of the main attractions (along with Rose Amy, Gaby Montbreuse and Rene Thano) in the Concert Mayol show Toute Neu from March 1924. Here they gave ‘a number of acrobatic dances which show off the beauty of physical form of both partners’ in such exotic numbers as Nuit de Sheherazade, La Favourite and L’Amant (the lover), La Boite de Jeux – Le Jeu des Dames (play of the ladies) and La Javaise des Roses – L’Ame des Roses (the heart of the roses). At the same time they doubled at the fashionable Canari nightclub in the Rue Faubourg. Read more on Jazz Age Club

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