Filmed in 1936, Maurice Tourneur's Avec le Sourire (With a Smile) finally attained an American release in 1939. The film represented the very first French starring vehicle for Gallic musical comedy favorite Maurice Chevalier, here cast as jaunty but penniless boulevardier Victor Larnois. In search of a quick franc, he waylays the doorman of a Parisian theatre and takes over the job himself, eventually working his way up to the theatre manager's job. After falling in love with and marrying a cute chorus girl (Marie Glory), Larnois dedicates himself to transforming his bride into a high-society doyenne. Having behaved rather callously throughout the proceedings, Larnois regains his humanity by helping out his former employer, now reduced to doorman status himself. Though it occasionally crosses over into Ernst Lubitsch territory, Avec le Sourire is distinctively Maurice Tourneur's film all the way.
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