The Louis Jourdan Website - Rue de l'Estrapade
Director: Jacques Becker
Writer: Annette Wademant
Other cast members: Anne Vernon, Daniel Gélin, Micheline Dax, Jean Servais, Michel Flamme, Pâquerette
Filmed in Paris and released in April 1953
Louis Jourdan plays a philandering race driver whose wife leaves him, and takes a room in Paris' Latin Quarter.
If all you watched of this film were the opening scene where Louis Jourdan is gobbling down a meal in the sloppiest possible way, it would be worth obtaining RUE DE LfESTRAPADE.
The actor admittedly has a soft spot for this fun film, and well he should. It's tight direction and editing keeps it moving forward every enjoyable minute. Whether he's in a tirade, a romantic mood, plotting with the maid or just carrying flowers up a flight of stairs, he radiates the magnitism Louis Jouvet identified when first seeing Louis Jourdan working as a film technician.
While at first, it appears this film is going to be about a lowly couple who live in the Rue de l'Estrapade, the then down-at-heel part of Paris, our hero and heroine are a million miles from that. (We'd be assuming too much on the basis of how LJ is consuming his food.)
Nevertheless, the interlude puts one in a merry mood to take in this light-hearted tale of masculine infidelity and feminine revenge.
For any Louis Jourdan devotee, the movie is charming and amusing at every juncture, showing him off at boyish pranks, amorous games with his wife, in hapless confusion, outrage and violent anger against his betrayer, a lot of screeching to a halt in his little sportscar, and not least, the dancing of a fandango.
The latter takes place following the successful conclusion of a delightful phone call during which he and the elderly maid manage to extract the address where his wife has newly taken up residence (in the rue de l'estrapade), having left him despite their previous mellow evening together.
Though this role is a little of all the parts he didn't like to play, the movie's (and his) infectious brightness belies any possibility that his wife (played by Anne Vernon) could bring herself to leave him for good, even though she appears to be taking up with an infatuated young existentialist in the working-class room where her lavish fur jackets are as incongruous as her wish to become a worker at the Champs-Élysées fashion salon where she's been a valued customer.
Indeed, this really is a romantic fairy tale more than a marital comedy, and as such leaves one with a smile that returns at will when Louis Jourdan's most appealing scenes come to mind, not least his wife flashing a light on his face in the middle of the night just to get one last look at the man she loves but is imminently leaving.
Though he has a fashion model stashed away in the racing garage, Henri's wife decides that her suspicions that he is having an affair must not be true.
Oblivious of his wife's plans. Later receiving confirmation of her fears, Françoise rents a room in the Latin Quarter and goes out looking for a job to support herself.
WATCH LOUIS JOURDAN DANCE THE FANDANGO! Just click the image below.
Two scene stealers: Coaching the maid while she speaks to his wife on the phone, the address in rue de l'estrapade is revealed. He jumps for joy.
RECOMMENDED! - Watch the entire movie online by clicking each of the images below.
Louis Jourdan sparkles his way through this film from the opening scene to closing credits, and the screen lights up each time he appears - so eminently watchable is he in every mood.
Henri is a race driver married to Françoise.
Marital bliss is interrupted by a phone call from Françoise's friend who has seen Henri with another woman
Knowing that she's leaving him in the morning, Françoise enjoys one last romantic evening with her husband, hinting at what's about to happen.
When he finds his wife is gone in the morning, Henri confronts the maid
Livid over the friend's actions, he determines to win his wife back
Having previously thrown his wife's friend out of the apartment, he goes into reverse with a charm offensive, and invites her to a meal.
Henri has visited Françoise at the room she's rented in the Rue de l'Estrapade, he finds her mixing happily, and rejects her when she approaches him at a race.
But in the end, love conquers all.