One of Renoir’s best loved films, Boudu celebrates the battle of the human spirit against the stifling aspects of bourgeois civilisation. Boudu, incarnated by the shambling, shaggy beast of an actor who was the great Michel Simon, is a Parisian tramp who tries to throw himself from the Pont des Arts, but is rescued and adopted by a left-bank bookseller, M Lestingois. Groomed and healthy again, the shameless Boudu seduces both Lestingois’ proud wife and his mistress, their daffy maid. Eventually the animal is tamed, but Renoir’s adaptation of a popular stage play throws out the author’s conventional ending and rejoices in anarchic freedom. There have been two remakes, Down and Out in Beverly Hills (with Nick Nolte) and the recent Boudu (with Gerard Depardieu), but the original reigns supreme.David Thompson.