A sly, bouncy comedy set in the back alleyways and sunlit avenues of 1930s Paris, Mauvaise Graine (Bad Seed) is the remarkable directorial debut of Billy Wilder, the sharp-witted, inimitable creator of such American classics as Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment and Double Indemnity.
Shot in France during Wilder’s migration from Germany to the U.S., Mauvaise Graine centers around Henry Pasquier (Pierre Mingand), the spoiled son of a wealthy doctor, who discovers high-octane thrills, jazz-era romance and a sense of purpose in life when he unwittingly falls into the company of an organized ring of car thieves. After befriending Jean (Raymond Galle), a dapper young chap with a curious fetish for men’s neckties, Henry falls in love with Jean’s sister Jeannette (legendary screen diva Danielle Darrieux), who works as car-bait for the gang, luring love-hungry Parisian gentlemen away from their chrome-plated carriages.
Cleverly weaving suspense with risqué comedy (as he would 26 years later with Some Like It Hot), Wilder and co-director Alexander Esway concoct an effervescent cinematic highball, garnished with a lively jazz score by Franz Waxman.
La Joie de Vivre (The Joy of Living) – A delightful 9-minute animated fairy tale made in France (1934) by Hector Hoppin and Anthony Gross. Two female dancers are pursued by a mysterious man on a bicycle as they move through graphically complex settings ranging from webs of industrial wires and train tracks to country fields of flowers. It’s an exceptional film and an animation landmark!