About the Film
René Clair’s last feature-length silent, Les Deux Timides begins with a courtroom scene that is a bravura example of silent film technique. A bumbling young lawyer (in a wonderful Keatonesque performance by Pierre Batcheff) is defending a client who is accused of beating his wife. As he describes his version of what happened, it plays out on the screen in all its ridiculous, convoluted glory, with escalating hilarity. The lawyer and his brutish client later become rivals for the hand of a shy young lady.
About the Restoration
The restoration of René Clair’s second comedy for Films Albatros, Russian émigré Alexandre Kamenka’s Paris studio, is based on a 4K digital scan of the original title negative and the original French camera negative, a rarity in silent-film preservation. Both elements are preserved in Paris in the vaults of the Cinémathèque française.
In line with ethical standards of restoration, digital intervention and cleaning was strictly limited to the removal of dirt and scratches and the repair of external damage such as film breaks and perforation tears. As with all San Francisco Silent Film Festival restoration collaborations, a new 35mm negative and new 35mm preservation prints are housed in partner collections, in this case at the Cinémathèque française and as part of the SFSFF Collection at the Library of Congress.