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Willy Ferriere is dead broke and his mistress costs a lot. One day, he says in a pub that he would give 100,000 francs to get rid of his wealthy aunt. Someone lets him know it's a deal. The... See full summary »
David is a poor but ambitious Polish Jew who reinvents himself as a powerful New York business magnate. After gaining wealth, he relocates to Paris, only to have his selfish and demanding wife squander his fortune.
Those five are unemployed penniless workers. Together they win 100,000 Francs with the national lottery. Instead of sharing the money, they buy a ruin and build an open-air cafe. But ... See full summary »
Aged penniless actors are living in a old people's home. They always talk about their past glory or failures. One day Raphael Saint-Clair comes; he has been a famous actor and had a lot of ... See full summary »
François' mother, Mme Lepic, hates him and she nicknames him "Poil de Carotte" (Carrot hair). His father is more interested in politics and hunting that he is in him. In spite of the ... See full summary »
Pierre Gilieth has committed a murder in Paris. He flees to Barcelona, where he runs out of money. So he joins the Spanish Foreign Legion. He meets there two fellow countrymen, Mulot and ... See full summary »
The young and patriotic student Demachy joins the French army in 1914 to defend his country. But he and his comrades soon experience the terrifying, endless trench war in Champagne, where ... See full summary »
A remake was made by Graziani in 1972.Although it featured Philippe Noiret,ideally cast as M.Lepic,it did not work.
Part of the reason can be found,IMHO, in the very structure of the book.Jules Renard's literature classic ,from which
the FRench young students study at least one chapter ,is a very hard work to transfer to the screen: it is made of small vignettes,small scenes ;it's not really a linear plot.One could have thought that Duvivier,who was the absolute master of the movie made up of sketches ,would opt for this technique for his "Poil de Carotte" .You are underestimating him:he knew,forty years before Graziani ,that he would have got a listless film.
Duvivier wrote himself the screenplay -as he had done in the past and as he would almost always do in the future;to think that he was not looked upon by some people as an auteur!- and he connected all the links of the chain.Using Renard's short scenes (the melon,the hens,Mathilde,the girlie) ,Duvivier perfectly integrated them into a whole.There is a progression in his movie which did not exist in the book.Only the masters of the seventh art know how to make a book their very own (other examples:Jean Renoir and Zola's "la Bete Humaine" ;Alfred Hitchcock and Boileau -Narcejac's "D'Entre les Morts" ("Vertigo").
A minor quibble:Catherine Fontenay's Madame Lepic is too theatrical and her shrill delivery is in direct contrast to Robert Lynen's and Harry Baur's very modern playing.Frontenay seems to be still living in the silent age.The monstrous mother,almost like in Hitchcock 's canon,would come back in Duvivier's huge body of work: a crazy mother in "Un carnet de Bal" who thinks that her dead son is still with her ; the over possessive one in "Voici le Temps des assassins" ,the absent one (replaced by a terrifying stepmother ) in "Boulevard" ;the selfish one ,protrayed by Danielle Darrieux in one sketch of "Le Diable et Les Dix Commandements".She was already here in "David Golder" (1930) ,asking dying Baur for a few Francs more....
Robert Lynen ,whose fate was tragic-see the first comment-,gives a performance so modern I do not think any contemporary whiz kid could approach .His Poil de Carotte refuses to be a martyr.He is a rebel,and even if he almost commits suicide (in a scene that would remain one of the peaks of Duvivier's works) he's a rebel and the last lines of the movie have something of a happy end ,which is very rare in the director's work.Happy end ,relatively speaking:actually a new war has begun:"now there are two of us" M.Lepic says.In the book,Renard wrote:"I can assure you that you will have comforting surprises" .One should note that "Poil de Carotte" was an autobiographical book.
Nobody ,not François Truffaut in "les Quatre Cents Coups " ,not even Maurice Pialat in his harrowing " L'Enfance Nue" equaled Duvivier when it came to depicting stolen childhood.Duvivier's peers are rather Bunuel ("los Olvidados" )Loach ("Kes" ) or Comencini ("Incompreso" "Cuore" ).
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