Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 3, April 6th, 1949.
Jean-Louis Barrault, who plays Baptiste, the mime, must surely be considered one of the great actors of our own time. His miming is almost ballet, yet surpassing anything in the ballet in its depth and direct human appeal. Baptiste moves the audience at the Funambules to laugh and cry and very nearly moved some members of more sophisticated Wellington audiences in the same way. Lncenaire, the frustrated writer turned criminal who contrives the final disastrous situation and his own death purely for dramatic effect ; the actor Frederic Lemaitre, whose Othello was perfected by his love for Garance and his somewhat theatrical jealousy of Baptiste-these and a dozen others are played by a cast of the utmost brilliance. To the director. Marcel Carne, must go the final credit of welding all these fine performances and the whole heroic situation into a great film.
And if all this reads like a publicity puff your reviewer is very sorry. As was said at the beginning, any review of this film is in danger of becoming that way. All the reviewer can do is to hope that the reader will take it literally, though not uncritically, and in any case will go and see the film for himself.