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Maria Chapdelaine (1934)

A young woman living with her family on the frontier in Quebec, Canada, endures the hardships of isolation and climate, and chooses between three suitors: a trapper, a farmer, and an ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Madeleine Renaud ...
Maria Chapdelaine (as Madeleine Renaud Sociétaire de la Comédie Française)
Suzanne Desprès ...
Gaby Triquet ...
Maximilienne ...
Azelma Larouche (as Maximilienne Max)
Lorenzo Surprenant
André Bacqué ...
Samuel Chapdelaine (as André Bacqué Sociétaire de la Comédie Française)
Alexandre Rignault ...
Eutrope Gagnon
Le curé
Robert Le Vigan ...
Tit-Sèbe, le rebouteux
Thomy Bourdelle ...
Le docteur
Émile Genevois ...
Fred Barry ...
Nazaire Larouche
Pierre Laurel ...
Ephrem Surprenant


A young woman living with her family on the frontier in Quebec, Canada, endures the hardships of isolation and climate, and chooses between three suitors: a trapper, a farmer, and an immigrant from Paris. Written by Steven Dhuey <walloon@mailbag.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »







Release Date:

24 September 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Folket från de stora vidderna  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


There are two cast lists in the title credits. The first one only lists the 6 main players as follows: Madeleine Renaud (as Madeleine Renaud Sociétaire de la Comédie Française), Jean Gabin, Jean-Pierre Aumont, André Bacqué (as André Bacqué Sociétaire de la Comédie Française), Alexandre Rignault and Suzanne Desprès. Then a full cast list details all female players along with their respective character names, followed by the male cast (also with the names of their characters). See more »


Maria can be seen picking blueberries in a tree. See more »


Version of The Naked Heart (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

A remarkable film
18 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Today I read Maria Chapdelaine, the classic French-Canadian novel by Louis Hemon. This evening I watched Julian Duvivier's 1934 screen adaptation of it, with Jean Gabin and Madeleine Renaud. It's one remarkable film, folks. Often faithful to the novel, but sometimes different, when Duvivier thought of ways that only a great novelist or a great director could have used to tell his story. (Louis Hamon, the author of Maria Chapdelaine, was not a great novelist. An effective one, yes, but not a great one.)

One of the things Duvivier uses repeatedly to great effect is juxtapositions of scenes that are happening simultaneously. (Hémon presents them consecutively.) The most remarkable example of this is his depiction of Christmas, when François Paradis is wandering through the forests in a terrible snow storm (recounted by Eutrope Gagnon in Chapter X of the novel), Maria is saying her rosary 1000 times in the hope it will cause the Virgin to send FP to her (depicted in Chapter IX of the novel), and in the church, largely empty, the priest does Christmas mass for the few parishioners who show up. The minutes when the younger daughter, Alma-Rose, sits in her father's lap and sings Christmas carols with him, juxtaposed to a choir singing the same music in the church in Péribonka, is remarkably moving.

Another example of such juxtapositions is when Duvivier juxtaposes Eutrope's marriage proposal to Maria with Samuel's regrets at his wife's deathbed for the miserable life he has given her. Eutrope tries to make good the very life that Samuel realizes made his own wife miserable. Hémon makes that contrast over several chapters, but Duvivier does it with immediate juxtapositions, and it is very effective.

My only real problem with this movie comes near the end. In the novel, Maria herself comes to a realization that she would rather remain in the north Canadian outback and carry on the 300 year old Franco-Canadian culture that survives there in the wilderness. It is a very powerful realization in the novel, and probably the single thing that made it a classic of French-Canadian literature. In the movie, those ideas get preached to her and the congregation as a whole by the local minister. It comes off as FAR less effective.

But other than that, this is a wonderful movie, both as a work of art and as a documentary on the life of northern Canadian farmers and loggers in the first part of the twentieth century, at least as Hémon saw it during his six months there. Each time I watch it I enjoy it more.


I watched Duvivier's juxtaposition of Chapters IX and X again today. It really is masterful.

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