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Coster Bill of Paris (1922)

Crainquebille (original title)
A poor vegetable peddler in Paris runs afoul of the law and finds himself ground up in the cogs of the corrupt French judicial system.



, (short story: "L'affaire Crainquebille")

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Complete credited cast:
Maurice de Féraudy ...
Félix Oudart ...
L'agent 64
Jean Forest ...
La Souris
Marguerite Carré ...
Mme Laure
Jeanne Cheirel ...
Mme Bayard
René Worms ...
M. Lemerle
Charles Mosnier ...
Docteur Mathieu
Armand Numès ...
Le Président - The Presiding Judge
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


A poor vegetable peddler in Paris runs afoul of the law and finds himself ground up in the cogs of the corrupt French judicial system.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

7 October 1923 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Coster Bill of Paris  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2005 restoration)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Banned in Belgian, 1923, on the grounds that it portrays a lack of respect of its laws. See more »


Version of Crainquebille (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

16 September 2011 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

There's one thing to note here, the old man's subjective experience of the courtroom where he's on trial, and later on the nightmare where it is more vividly relived; figures are unnaturally large or small, blacks and whites are inverted, and the judges storm from their pedestals across the room in thunderous slow-motion. It's an arresting sequence of internal anxieties.

So even though the film has been jotted down in film history as realist

  • the Parisian marketplace bustling with activity, the sellers pushing

their carts down cobble-streets - it is this, impressionist we call it now, inversed look of objective reality from inside the mirror that strikes some spark now.

But compared to what more renowned French filmmakers - Gance, Epstein, L'Herbier - were attempting at the time or were gearing to, it leaves something to be desired. Example: the state prosecutor, whose court rhetorics intimidate the simple old man, is envisioned as gigantic; but Feyder frames him in a full shot that makes the court appear miniscule and the prosecutor normal, which is clearly not what was intended from what the intertitle lets us gather.

So it is all a bit improvised for effect, in an effort, that was taken up in France at the time, to distend cinema from the theatrical point-of-view foisted upon it by the earlier generation of filmmakers.

The moral of the story is actually more interesting; it is not the rigid, surreal system of law and justice that tears the individual, this anomy is endured with quiet, baffled dignity and some measure of ritual fatalism, but the society that bestows a final respect on the word of this system; a collective whole which Feyder reveals to be thoroughly hypocritical, petty, small-minded, and ultimately heartless.

So it is not surprsing that the guardian angel turns out to be a kid; not yet swallowed in this collective cruelty, a person who can see from the heart.

Other than that, there are some lovely evening atmospheres that you may want to see; empty streets lined up with lights, a bridge across an expanse of water. It's all painterly, quite evocative of a sense of place.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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