When René Clair was first offered the job of adapting the farce of Labiche and Michel for the cinema by Alexandre Kamenka, of the Albatros film company, he was unenthusiastic, but he nevertheless demonstrated a sure touch for a fast-moving satirical portrayal of bourgeois style and manners. He updated the original play from 1851 to the setting of the Belle Époque, and an opening title dates it specifically to 1895, the year of the birth of the cinema. In addition to the period settings designed by Lazare Meerson, the story is filmed in a style which recalls the techniques of the earliest cinema films. Most shots use a fixed camera which does not move with the action; characters walk in and out of shot from the sides. Set-ups are usually in long shot, with the characters backlit to provide contrast with the background; much of the action is built up by details within the shot. Close-ups are comparatively rare. (Only in occasional sequences do we see tracking shots, to follow a moving carriage, or rapid cutting, for instance to suggest Fadinard's growing panic in a dance scene.)
The verbal dexterity of the original text is replaced with inventive visual comedy. Each supporting role is characterised by a comic detail which becomes a running joke: the deaf uncle with a blocked-up ear-trumpet; the cousin who has lost one white glove; the bride's father whose dress shoes are a size too small; the bride who feels a pin that has dropped down the back of her dress; the cousin whose tie keeps dropping, and his wife whose pince-nez will not stay on her nose. The visual narrative is made largely self-sufficient, and there are comparatively few intertitles throughout the film.
On its first release, the film was not particularly successful with the French public, and its initial run in Paris lasted for only three weeks. It was however very positively received by the critics, and it proved to be one of the most durable of French silent films. By transposing the action to the 1890s when the play had found particular success with audiences, the film was seen as a satire of the play itself and of the kind of audience that would have enjoyed it.
"With this first big success (artistic more than commercial), René Clair, at the age of 30, achieved his maturity, and established, through his meeting with Labiche, his themes and a style."
Source : Wikipedia