Clive Langham spends one tormenting night in his bed suffering from health problems and thinking up a story based on his relatives. He is a bitter man and he shows, through flashbacks, how spiteful, conniving and treacherous his family is. But is this how they really are or is it his own vindictive slant on things?
The plot focuses on Gaillac, an electrician employed by the Paris Opera. In love with gorgeous ballerina Suzanne, Gaillac must play second fiddle to Suzanne’s wealthy “protector,” powerful politician Count Montoire. When the Opera personnel go on strike, Gaillac is appointed leader of the strikers, doing his job so well that he is ultimately elected Secretary of Labor in the French cabinet. Now on equal footing with Montoire, Gaillac is at last a “worthy” suitor for Suzanne – who can’t make up her mind between her two well-connected admirers, leading to a political rivalry the likes of which Paris has never seen.
A novel by Gaston Leroux (of Phantom of the Opera fame) was the source for this film. The story takes place on the Riviera, where the title character may or may not be involved in various shades of skullduggery, including murder. The film’s highlight involves a coffin containing the body of a man who committed suicide — or, did he? Huguette Duflos played the title character, while the comedy relief was in the capable hands of Belieres. In emulation of the 1928 American film The Terror, the opening credits are not printed on screen, but instead spoken by a mysterious “ghost” voice.
Henri Chatelard is well in his forties, owns a restaurant and a cinema in the city, and appreciate women. When he meets Marie, a 18ish stronghead who just lost her father in a small fishermen village, it is not clear who is the hunter and who is the prey.
A Hollywood studio is producing another spectacular when the top billed male stars suddenly show up as corpses, killed before the critics could ever put pen to paper. Under suspicion is a talent agent. Is he guilty or not? These macabre events have everyone off their feed, from the producers down to the lowest gofer.
Odile and Camille are two sisters living in Paris. Odile is frustrated in her dull marriage to Claude, who shows no enthusiasm in her desire to buy a new apartment. Camille, studying for a doctorate, suffers from a panic disorder. The lives of both women are up-ended when three men enter their lives.
Composed entirely by literary quotations from many different sources and from several historical periods, Godard’s film works as an allegory on film. The loose narrative tells about a drifter found by a rich woman who soon falls in love with him. A drowning accident takes place and the drifter dies but some time later, he reappears in the woman’s life looking for a job. Or could it be the man’s twin brother?
Miquette is a provincial ingenue who leaves her mother’s tobacco shop with dreams of a life in the Parisian theater, only to become entangled in relationships with a lecherous aristocrat, his starry-eyed nephew, and an old ham actor.