Marie Bell, Raimu, Fernandel, Pierre Blanchar and Harry Baur, the greatest cinema actors in France, names that will pack any theatre in Paris, all came to the Fine Arts yesterday in "Un Carnet de Bal," a picture worth seeing if only as an anthology of all that the French screen has to offer. Episodic, rather in the manner of "If I Had A Million," the picture takes a world-weary blonde (Mlle. Bell) in search of ten boys she had known in her youth. She had gone to her first ball, a card dance, when she was sixteen, and each of her partners with true Gallic gallantry had told her they loved her. Five she finds alive, a priest, a shyster, a hairdresser, an epileptic, and the mayor of a sunny little town in the Midi.
It is doubtful if "Un Carnet de Bal" deserved the Venice award as the greatest picture of 1937. It is far from great; although they may strike American audiences as novel, the trick plot and twisted cynicism are old stuff on the European screen. But Julien Duvivier, master of French directors--he has made better films than this--has given "Un Carnet" the touch of the artist, which combines with competent acting and force photography to make the picture thoroughly worthwhile.