Though not as commonly recognized today as other pre-New Wave French directors such as Marcel Carné and Jean Renoir, Sacha Guitry (1885-1957) once claimed legions of fans in France. Often drawing comparison to Noël Coward, Guitry was essentially a playwright who embarked on a cinematic career as a means of attaining broader exposure. In lieu of filming stagy material, however, Guitry enlisted radical cinematographic techniques that were years ahead of their time. This edition of The Criterion Collection's Eclipse series brings four Guitry features to American audiences for the very first time. It includes: The Story of a Cheat (1936), with the director himself starring as a wily and conniving card shark; The Pearls of the Crown (1937), the tale of how the various pearls of England's crown originated and the journeys they took before arriving on the diadem of the British monarch; Désiré (1937), with Guitry as a Machiavellian butler who repeatedly seduces various mistresses; and Quadrille (1938), a bubbly sex comedy about several characters whose lives intersect in a posh Parisian hotel.