10 January 2022

Jean Boyer's Coiffeur pour dames (1952)

Mario (Ferdandel) is a highly sought after women's hairdresser in a small shop in Provence who works with Gaëtan (Manuel Gary). But Gaëtan is shunned by most of the women because Mario has the magic touch with women's hair, turning his job into an art form. And although he's married to Aline (Blanchette Brunoy), all the women find him sexually attractive, and on one occasion he's forced out of bed with Edmonde (Arlette Poirier) onto the cold balcony in pyjamas hiding from Edmonde's married lover M. Brochant (Georges Lannes), who's unexpectedly turned up at her apartment.

But Mario dreams of moving to Paris where he can exercise his skills in an expensive environment, and fortunately his cleverness with a pair of scissors is matched to his psychological cunning: he's able to manipulate women's minds as well as their hair, his craftwork soon brings M. Brochant and Geneviève (Renée Devillers) back together, and as she's stinking rich he soon has a thriving salon on the Champs-Élysées.

However, he's the victim of his own success, and his women are falling over themselves for his favours. And such is his overweening egotism that he thinks he can divorce from Aline and marry the Brochants' twenty-year-old daughter Denise (Françoise Soulié). But he soon realises he's being stupid, risking his health and decides to go on a second honeymoon: with Aline in Provence!

A light comedy as irresistable as women find Mario, although I can't help thinking that this is aimed at Ferdandel's own egotism, or is there some self-parody that he's playing to?

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