Portions of The Italian Straw Hat were shown in the Hans Richter: Encounters exhibition at LACMA.
This silent film was directed by René Clair who formed Cinéma Pur, an avant-garde film movement with Hans Richter, Man Ray, Ferdinand Léger and others.
The Italian Straw Hat was based on an 1851 play by Eugène Labiche and Marc Michel. It is a comedy of manners and a satire on propriety and behavior in the middle-class mind-set. Transposing the action of the perennial stage farce from 1851 to a summer wedding day in 1895 – the birth of cinema – Clair recalls detail, costume and design captured by the first movies.
The film has a dozen eccentric characters who try desperately to keep up appearances in the face of disaster. A horse eats a lady's hat while the lady is hidden behind the bush with her lover and that sets off a series of escapades.
- In black & white
- 144 minutes
- 2 additional short films
- Booklet on René Clair