Tire au flanc (1928)
André Sylvane (based on the play by), André Mouézy-Éon (based on the play by)
Georges Pomiès, Michel Simon, Félix Oudart
TIRE AU FLANC shows Renoir to be a master of comedy and farce, with this tale of a rich, flaky poet and his servant (Simon) who both join the army and wind up in the same barracks. There's a wealth of great comic performances and witty ensemble playing, and a healthy sense of anarchy which, as Truffaut says, must have influenced Vigo's ZERO FOR CONDUCT. There's a lot going on, including landing in the brig, romantic mix-ups and some hilarious amateur theatricals at the army ball (the poet plays pan and Simon is a lady angel strung from a wire). The action is inventive and the timing is impeccable. The original sight gags are on a par with the great silent American comedies.