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European Rest Cure

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 28, 2015

Here’s an interesting combination of modes. They’re alternating previous actualities with staged (one set-up, painted backdrop) comic scenes, making a hybrid that is both efficient and reasonably effective. European Rest Cure is a simple combination of travelogue, somewhat formless knockabout and broad comic concept. The concept is that our naive American protagonist has gone over for a rest, but only becomes more weary by doing so. No great shakes—not so bad either. In comedy it’s what you do with your idea as much as the idea itself, isn’t it? I like the water that they throw through the window, and those wild French ladies who dance so uninhibitedly (and very well). The “Hold Up, In Italy” section is shot on some actual location. The camera placement here is classical, with the value added of a stereotyped visitation by robbing brigands.

Our broadly played protagonist takes big tumbles in Ireland and on the Alps. This is adding up to the standard American rube comedy of course, extended to international settings. The Innocents Abroad? If they’re not thinking specifically of Twain, or of Henry James, then at least that general scenario is in place. The Egypt set is quite well composed, and the obligatory tumble is very nicely executed. They’ve taken this guy up and out of frame, waited for just the right amount of time, and then tossed a dummy down in his place. Nice match/ trick cut. The German mud bath scene is instructive. We may be rubes, but they’re all crazy!