Home > 1940 - 1949 > Sylvie et le Fantôme

Sylvie et le Fantôme / Sylvia and the Phantom

Sylvie et le Fantome title card

Year - 1946
Studio - Écran Français
Stars - Odette Joyeux, François Périer, Pierre Larquey, Claude Marcy, Jean Desailly, Paul Demange, Marguerite Cassan, Jacques Tati
Director - Claude Autant-Lara
Writing Credits - Alfred Adam (play), Jean Aurenche
Music - René Cloërec


On the eve of her 16th birthday, Sylvie's father (Pierre Larquey) needs cash to allow them to continue to live in their castle. So he sells her favorite painting, a portrait of Alain, the lover of Sylvie's grandmother, killed in a duel. Alain's ghost (Jacques Tati) lives in the castle and Sylvie (Odette Joyeux) senses his presence. She believes he will appear to her at her birthday party. Knowing this, her father plans a midnight surprise, hiring an actor to appear as the ghost Alain. Two other men show up at the castle, Frederick (Jean Desailly), who had arranged for the purchase of the painting, and Ramure (François Périer), a jewel thief. Thinking that the agency mistakenly sent three actors, he hires them all so that the "ghost" can appear in different places at the same time.

Sylvia and the Phantom poster

The three "ghosts" play their assigned roles, scaring the party guests. Both Frederick and Ramure fall in love with the beautiful Sylvie, but when the gendarmes arrive to arrest him, Ramure jumps to the castle moat and escapes. When the frightened guests realize the hoax, they chase after one of the actors in his hood and sheet. Alain, the real ghost covers himself with one of the costumes. When a guest seeks to expose him, the empty costume falls to the floor. As Sylvie and Frederick embrace, the ghost (and his little ghost dog) rise to the heavens.

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The ghost of Alain was played by Jacques Tati, later to be famous as Mr. Hulot in such classic French comedies as Mr. Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle, and Play Time.