Broadcast this evening on Canal +, L’Esprit amuses itself brings together a cast of choice. Around Dame Judi Dench, we find Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher and Leslie Mann in a fantastic comedy, remake of a David Lean classic.
What is it about
A successful writer confronted with the blank page syndrome invites, with his wife, a psychic to help him remedy his blockage. Following a spiritualism session, the medium comes into contact with Elvira, the writer’s first wife, which stirs up the jealousy of Ruth, the second wife.
The Spirit of Fun, by Ed Hall with Dan Stevens, Leslie Mann, Isla Fisher, Judi Dench … June 29 at 9 p.m. on Canal + and available on MyCanal.
Spirit, are you there?
Little fantasy of Ed Hall – director but above all a theater director – L’esprit s’amuse is almost a sitcom before its time. Based on the play of the same name by Noel Coward (written in 1941), The Spirit of Fun gets an update that relies heavily on its cast.
The film begins with Dan Stevens, as Charles Condomine, a writer specializing in crime victim of blank page syndrome. He himself has to adapt one of his works for the cinema, but nothing helps.
Meanwhile, Ruth (Isla Fischer), his lovely wife, enjoys the joys of country life in a stunning mansion. The art of living in England in 1937 is visibly akin to having a dream wardrobe and consuming a lot of alcohol.
To stimulate their imagination, the couple decides to organize an entertaining evening by inviting Madame Cecily Arcati – played by a Judi Dench who cabotines as much as possible – a so-called medium whose real talent is the directing of herself. . Except that the session of spiritualism really made “return” Elvira (Leslie Mann), the ex-wife of Charles.
A remake of David Lean’s film
In 1945, the director David Lean – to whom we owe among others Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge of the River Kwaï or the Doctor Zhivago – made his debut in the cinema with The Spirit of Fun, a true enchanted interlude. . In this version, Charles Condomine is played by Rex Harrison (Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady).
Although it received positive reviews, the film was a box office failure on both sides of the Atlantic, but has since been widely regarded as a classic. His lines, daring for the time, did not all have the final cut.
Unfortunately, boldness is lacking in this new version. Even if one cannot fault much for the actors who do their best, the material given to them is singularly lacking in flavor. The reversals of the situation remain artificial and the dialogues lack bite. However, the film confirms one thing: we love to see Dan Stevens in period films and series.