Pola finds consolation with Louis.
Fred has just got back together with Pola who has fallen out with Louis, and in a jealous fury at Albert's return Fred decides to provoke a knife fight with him. Louis rushes to Albert's rescue and the two comrades are re-united, but their friendship is clouded by the realisation that each of them is in love with Pola. Finally Albert decides to give up Pola to Louis. The arrival of synchronised sound in the cinema in the late s provoked mixed reactions among French film-makers, and some of the masters of silent film technique were pessimistic about the impact it would have.
Clair accepted the inevitability of the talking picture but at first retained very specific views about the way that sound should be integrated into film.
Under the Roofs of Paris () - IMDb
He was reluctant to use dialogue or sound effects naturalistically, and maintained that the alternate use of the image of the subject and of the sound produced by it - not their simultaneous use - created the best effect. This studio inaugurated a policy of making French-speaking films in France rather than importing French performers to make French versions of films in Germany. A reversal of this shot ends the film.
This is the first of many ways in which Clair affirms his loyalty to the style and techniques of silent cinema while creating a distinctive role for the new element of sound. Elsewhere, a conversation is cut off by the closing of a glass door and then has to be followed in dumb-show; the hour of midnight is indicated by the sound of a mere three chimes - and the superimposition of a clockface; and a knife-fight is first seen but not heard as a passing train drowns out all else, and then the fight's continuation in darkness is conveyed only by its sounds until the headlights of a car illuminate the scene.
Such devices are not only imaginative but amount almost to a satire of the sound film. When the film first came out, it began with a five-minute sequence outlining the relationships of the main characters, before the spectacular travelling shot that descends from the rooftops.
In later versions this introduction disappeared, perhaps reflecting Clair's second thoughts, and the symmetry of the film's beginning and end was allowed to stand out. In fact only about one quarter of the film could be described as 'talking', and this may have contributed to the disappointment with which it was greeted by many Parisians, eager to experience the new medium.
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The director of the French branch of Tobis, Dr Henckel, had given Clair complete freedom to make the film, but after the Paris opening he told Clair that it was now clear what others thought of his methods, and that in future he would have to resign himself to giving the audience what they wanted - talking pictures that really talked. However a gala screening of the film, attended by Clair, was arranged in Berlin in August , and there it was greeted as a triumph.
Its run in German cinemas continued for several months. This success was repeated when the film appeared in New York and in London both in December , and it was also well received in Tokyo, Shanghai, Moscow and Buenos Aires. After its international acclaim, Sous les toits de Paris was released again in France and this time it enjoyed a real success on its home ground.
Early defenders of the film's warmth and charm, such as Jacques Brunius and Henri-Georges Clouzot ,  found greater support, and the originality of the approach to sound was better appreciated. Modern judgments of the film, while acknowledging its importance for its time, have tended to find it limited by its nostalgic portrayal of the "little people" of Paris and by its "studio artifice"; in the words of one critic, it tends to "smother cinematic interest with the sheer cleverness of the conception and the technical mastery of the execution".
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