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The Smiling Madame Beudet (1923)
"La souriante Madame Beudet" (original title)

6.8
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One of the first feminist movies, The Smiling Madame Beudet is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in ... See full summary »

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Title: The Smiling Madame Beudet (1923)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Germaine Dermoz ...
Madame Beudet
Alexandre Arquillière ...
Monsieur Beudet
Jean d'Yd ...
Monsieur Labas
Yvette Grisier ...
La bonne
Madeleine Guitty ...
Madame Labas
Raoul Paoli ...
Le champion de tennis
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Armand Thirard ...
Le commis (as Thirard)
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Storyline

One of the first feminist movies, The Smiling Madame Beudet is the story of an intelligent woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband is used to playing a stupid practical joke in which he puts an empty revolver to his head and threatens to shoot himself. One day, while the husband is away, she puts bullets in the revolver. However, she is stricken with remorse and tries to retrieve the bullets the next morning. Her husband gets to the revolver first only this time he points the revolver at her. Written by Anurag Garg <garo@cs.ucla.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

9 November 1923 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Das Lächeln der Madame Beudet  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Included among the '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die', edited by Steven Jay Schneider. See more »

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User Reviews

 
the right to be a nonconformist, independent and happy human ( woman ) being.

"La Souriante Madame Beudet" is another remarkable film directed by Damen Dulac, one of the most outstanding avant-garde French directors of the time and the subject of some previous reviews of her principal silent films by this German Count in his modern diary some months ago. This one is a film that has all of the characteristics of her other films insofar as their likeness of cinema innovations and the display of strong, independent and decisive female characters.

The film depicts the story of Madame Beudet, a modern frenchified woman who likes to play at the piano longhaired composers' oeuvres ( Debussy ), read novels ( Flaubert, probably… ) and modern magazines. She is married with a textile businessman. He is a rude and ordinary man who absolutely bores his wife because he has different cultural interests than her, like going to the theater to watch "Faust" ( obviously Madame Beudet as a perfect French chauvinist doesn't like that German play ).

When Monsieur Beudet is fed up with the differences between them, he makes a fake attempts to commit suicide in front of her with a revolver that is not loaded… But one day, his wife places bullets in the barrel...

The most remarkable aspect of this film it is the will that Madame Beudet displays to put an end to an unhappy marriage. She is an intelligent, cultivated person that can't stand such bored life. She rebels against marriage's conventions, affirms the right to live her own life, to claim a happy life via an inward rebellion that only has success in her dreams ( displayed in the film with trick and special effects ). So the chance to get her freedom thanks to her husband's continuous fake suicide attempts seems to be the perfect excuse for her to make her dreams come true.

But in spite of her desires and plots against her husband, at the end Madame Beudet will succumb to remorse. Even with those inner claims of independence, she accepts her particular condemnation as shown in the last sequence of the film…walking about the streets with her husband, crestfallen.

Bu in spite or thanks to such an ending, Damen Dulac achieve her inward intentions displayed in this film: the right to be a nonconformist, independent and happy human ( woman ) being.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must check if their musket is, sure enough, not loaded.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien


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