The Rage of Paris (1938)

  • Directed by Henry Koster.
  • Danielle Darrieux’s first Hollywood film.
  • Nicole (Darrieux) wants to be a model. She tries to imposter her way into a modeling gig, but fails because she accidentally swipes the information of one of the modeling agency’s advertising partners, rather than the information of a photographer.
  • DF2 (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) is Jim Trevor, the advertising partner in question, who is equal parts befuddled and entertained when Nicole walks into his office & immediately begins undressing, asking where her drape (or, as she says it, “drap”) is & telling him he must pay her $2.75 an hour.
  • Following this embarrassing episode, Nicole & her neighbor Gloria (Helen Broderick) come up with a plan to snag Nicole a rich husband and solve all of their monetary problems, once & for all. Gloria convinces her old waiter pal Mike (Mischa Auer) to finance Nicole’s fancypants hotel stay; Mike has several thousand dollars saved to open his own restaurant – but to really make it the place he’s dreamed of, Gloria suggests he invest his savings in Nicole’s Mr. Moneybags Seeking Endeavor, which is sure to double his investment, at least.
  • The Gang’s first Richling Target is Bill Duncan (Louis Hayward), whose family “owns half of Canada”…and who we also find out is BFFs with *drumroll please* – Jim Trevor!
  • JT’s like, ‘Bro – this girl’s a phony. Get out of this ASAP.’ Lovestruck Bill’s like, ‘Naw, dude – you’re just trying to theft another one of my girlfriends. GTFO!’

And we’re just like, ‘Dang, Bill! You’re dumb.’

  • Mischa Auer is brilliant (as always). The scene in which Bill punches JT for his continued attempts to out Nicole…ha! Auer pops up right behind Bill & says, in a totally flat tone of voice: “I saw the whole thing, Mr. Duncan. He pulled a knife on you.” The delivery of that sequence of lines is perfection.
  • DF2 semi-kidnaps Nicole & drives her to his vacant cabin in the New York wilderness (a la THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) & several others I can’t remember right now). There’s a cute bit about a window that won’t open, & eventually Nicole admits that no, she does not love Idiot Bill – she of course loves DF2, instead.

“Every woman has a big danger. She meets a boy; she likes the way he talks, the way his hands look, the way he looks when he gets angry. And then she falls in love with him, and she doesn’t care whether he has any money or not.” — Nicole

  • DF2’s essentially like, ‘I mean, that’s nice and all…but I have more money than Idiot Bill, so…does money not matter…?’ (And like – I believe Nicole – but still, I can’t blame him for questioning it, under the circumstances.)
  • Anyhow, rejected Nicole hitchhikes back to the Savoy Grand, where the Gloria-and-Mike scheme has completely fallen apart, thanks to some of Idiot Bill’s relatives calling contacts in Paris to discover that Nicole’s backstory is total bullshit.
  • With Bill’s assurance of contented withdrawal, DF2 is free to marry Nicole, and marry her he does!

Hooray!

  • This was cute and had good performances from Danielle Darrieux, DF2, & Mischa Auer; Charles Coleman’s stint as Rigley, DF2’s enchanted-by-magic butler, was nice, too. Script-wise, it didn’t have much glory or depth…but still, enjoyable enough to watch.
  • Ps: In case you’re like, ‘Oh no!!! Poor Mike lost all of the money he’d worked so hard to save for his restaurant! Wahhhh! That’s terrible!’ – stop crying, it’s okay. He happens to be around for Bill’s unearthing of Nicole’s falsities, & tells Bill a sob story about how those evil women stole $5000 from him. Bill’s like, ‘I got you, dude! We’re brothers in this scam! I’ll write you a check to replace your stolen funds! I own half of Canada! Don’t worry about it!’

And they all live happily ever after.

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