#175 – Taisez-vous! (Shut Your Face!)

(1950, Fr, 61 min, b/w) Dir Albert. Cast Albert, Romy Pice, Oscar de la Vana, Jacques Jacques.

The first full length feature from future French film luminary Albert, of Le Roi du Canard and Monsieur B dans l’Univers fame. As such Taisez-vous! is an altogether more small-scale an enterprise, set entirely within one room in a library though since said room is the vast glass and iron reading room in the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris the smallness of the scale is entirely relative. Albert plays a novice librarian on his first day on the job, desperate to not let a single noise disrupt the silence but inevitably mere shushing soon isn’t enough and before long he’s bursting bubbles of gum before they pop, making everyone remove their shoes (if by force if necessary) and trying to baffle the sound of books being set down with a well aimed catapult and a pile of small cushions. It all gets out of hand, of course, culminating in the bookshelves toppling like dominoes and Albert diving madly to bodily interrupt their crashing end. The whole enterprise rests on Albert and his performance and as such the film is a success – his whole body is a wonder of physical comedy and his facial expressions alone are worth the price of admission.

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