Paris, 1920s. Marguerite Dumont is a wealthy woman, lover of the music and the opera. She loves to sing for her friends, although she's not a good singer. Both her friends and her husband ...
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Paris, 1920s. Marguerite Dumont is a wealthy woman, lover of the music and the opera. She loves to sing for her friends, although she's not a good singer. Both her friends and her husband have kept her fantasy. The problem begins when she decides to perform in front of a real audience. Written by
Placed in Paris starting from September 1920, and with an almost faithful commitment to the period, except for the sequence when Marguerite, Baronne Dumont sings whilst motion picture images are first projected onto a white sheet and then onto her white clothing. Incorrectly there is the use of a 16mm silent movie film that appears to be projected from a 16mm film projector, however 16mm film was not invented by Eastman Kodak in the USA until 1923. In France in 1922 Pathé Frères invented their 9.5mm silent movie film as part of the Pathé Baby amateur film system, which would have been more likely to be in use in this era.
For the era the incorrect number countdown leader is projected, and any fully trained projectionist would notice the error, and in 1920 we see the 1965 "SMPTE Universal Leader" that was designed and used for television projection applications. Featuring a continuous countdown from eight to two (measured in seconds, rather than feet), with the numbers in the center of a target with two white circles and a rotating "clock arm" animation. "SMPTE Universal Leader" did not gain widespread acceptance theatrically which still used from 1930 "The Academy Leader", and from 1951 "The Society Leader" (both are 16 frames/foot in 35mm film), counting down from eleven to three, and a quick beep is heard at three, with all the numbers appearing upside down. The words 'SIX' and 'NINE' usually appear below their respective numbers.
The Academy leader is specified by SMPTE 301.. The Universal Leader is specified by ANSI/SMPTE 55.
The Society [aka All-Purpose] Leader (1951) is quite complex in design, and is recognizable by its circles with slender arrows pointing to the sides, top, and bottom of each frame (akin to cross-hairs). The numbering is from 11 to 3, but oriented the correct way up, however the SIX and NINE appear as words only. The numbers are again spaced at one foot intervals, i.e. at every sixteenth frame, with 'echoes' of each number in the immediately adjacent frames (so each number actually appears thrice). The Universal [a.k.a. Television] Leader (1965) is the most widely recognized with the familiar 'clocksweep' animated graphic, and the numbering used is from 8 to 2 and with duration of precisely 8secs@24fps. All numbers are the correct way up, and are spaced at 24-frame (1 second) intervals. Since the number 9 has been eliminated, the 6 appears only as a numeral. See more »
"Marguerite" is a very well crafted French film. It's lovingly filmed and has a lot of wonderful aesthetic qualities. However, it's also a film that ultimately left me dissatisfied as the payoff wasn't at all what I would have anticipated...or enjoyed.
The Baroness Marguerite Dumont has the delusion that she has a beautiful singing voice and she dreams of becoming a world famous opera singer. When the film begins, she does a recital and the audience behave as if she is gifted...but she sounds much like an animal being tortured! Why each of these people go along with the ruse is uncertain but you can only assume many of these folks genuinely like her and don't want to spoil her dream. However, there are also those with hidden motives...such as the husband who is cheating on her as well as the Dadaist artists who believe anti-art and want to provoke audiences to hate her. What's to become of her and her plans of one day doing a giant recital in a real concert hall for the public?
This film seems, at times, like it's trying to be a comedy...albeit a dry one. After all, the name Marguerite Dumont appears to be a nod to the lady who co-starred in so many Marx Brothers films, Margarite Dumont. And, at times it seems like it's all a big joke. But ultimately the film becomes serious and a bit depressing...and left me feeling extremely dissatisfied. Still, it did take a risk and looked nice...but that's just not enough for me to recommend it.
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