Paris Asleep (1925)

Rene Clair brings us a wonderfully little film, that I would never have heard of if it were not for the 101 Sci-Fi Movies.

A silent film that is set against the backdrop of 1920s Paris the visuals of the famed City of Lights are delightful, and a lot of the film is shot in and around the Eiffel Tower.

The Tower’s watchmen wakes to discover that the rest of the world has seemingly come to a standstill. Literally.

The few people he comes across as he explores the empty streets seem frozen in place and completely unresponsive. He comes to the conclusion that he was much too high to be affected by whatever has struck the city.

He’s joined by the passengers and pilot of an aircraft that was also above whatever happened not only to Paris, but apparently the world.

At first the bunch have themselves a grand ole time, all of Paris is laid out before them, food, drink, riches…

But eventually, they grow tired, bored and irritable, and start to fight one another over the only woman in the group.

Brawls erupt, causing a number of close calls on the tower, but are interrupted by a wireless message.

There’s another survivor!

Off the go, to find the cause of the sleeping world, a scientist has created a ray that froze everyone!

After much urging the scientist agrees to revert the world back to the way it was, and eventually our group of heroes find their happy endings.

The film is a delight, not least of which for it’s scenery and some incredible vertical tracking shots through the Tower, laying out all of Paris at the viewer’s feet.

There are a lot of laughs, and the film never takes itself too seriously, though there are hints of darker ideas and thoughts running underneath it.

And there is only one more silent film in the 101 Sci-Fi movies before we leap into the talkies, happily it’s one of my all time faves!!

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