Episodic, ingenious and entertaining British comedy Innocents In Paris is dedicated to confirming both the British view of Paris as ‘Paree’ and the British cinema’s perennial pre-occupation with poking fun at national characterisations and foibles, especially when they are transplanted among funny foreigners.
The foreigners here are the French who are subjected to a comic invasion by just about every British comedy actor working in the ’50s. Spearheading the expeditionary force is ALASTAIR SIM as Sir Norman Barker, the diplomat and economist, in Paris for a conference that is bogged down by the continuing intransigence of Russian delegate Panitov (PETER ILLING). Barker succeeds in getting Panitov’s signature on a treaty, or rather a tablecloth, after a night of increasing intoxication in a Russian nightclub.
Archetypal Englishman abroad George Stilton (JIMMY EDWARDS) spends his time abroad in an archetypal English pub which just happens to be in Paris. Dithery artist Gladys Inglott (MARGARET RUTHERFORD) is happy to buy a copy of the Mona Lisa which whe avers is better than the original, and millionaire’s mistress Gloria Delaney (MARA LANE) assuages her annoyance at the non-appearance of her love with a dalliance with handsome LAURENCE HARVEY.
While both the screenplay and structure were totally traditional, the dedicated playing of the well-chosen cast made the most of the varied incidents and their chances to send up types long beloved in British comedy films.
UK / 1953
Director: Gordon Parry
Writer/ Producer: Anatole de Grunwald
Cast: Alastair Sim, Ronald Shiner, Margaret Rutherford, Claire Bloom, Laurence Harvey, Claude Dauphin, Jimmy Edwards, James Copeland