Louise, a young seamstress, has fallen in love with Julien, her neighbor, a composer who lives a Bohemian life with his friends, artists like him. Her over-possessive working class parents ... See full summary »
Before World War I in Paris, a budding artist, Pierre Leblanc, falls in love and marries Janine, a dressmaker's assistant. Pierre has a flair for designing clothes, and he and his bride ... See full summary »
Abel Gance whose best works were ahead of their time ("Napoleon" "La roue" "J'accuse" ) takes an old-fashioned novel and emphasizes its most sentimental side.A melodrama so far-fetched -the final coincidence :Maxime is actually in his own castle- takes the biscuit. One can wonder whether Gance transferred those obsolete episodes to the screen.
A young aristocrat,the Marquis de Champcey,(Pierre Fresnay)is completely broke.So he's got to work,which is decay for those who have blue blood in their veins.Undaunted ,he becomes a steward for nouveaux riches.It it interesting to note that Maxime's name is Maxime Odiot de Champcey Hauterive and the scenarists ruled out the first surname (which recalls "idiot" too much?).In the Laroque family,Maxime is ceaselessly humiliated ,even by Marguerite the daughter of the house ,he falls in love with.But he's got to carry on,for,as he writes in his diary,"I want to get the young's dowry".Max speaks of his sister but a wicked person in the mansion reads it and mistakes him for a fortune -hunter.
Maxime remains noble ,chivalrous,gentlemanly, twice he is risking death ,the first time to save Marguerite's dog(!) and the second one ,to save his love's reputation.
At times ,it seems that Gance wanted to take melodrama to new limits: everyone in the castle is coveting the old Laroque's fortune ,except for an old lady,whose only dream is to have a cathedral for her soul to rest;the shepherd's songs are unbearable today;the "Celtic" play which the family performs in the park for their peasants to dig is a ludicrous farce ;and the final unexpected twist is ...
However in the last scenes we can finally feel Gance's touch: the old Laroque confessing his crime when the villagers dance in a ring and sing the old "Trois Jeunes Tambours"traditional ....their silhouettes casting giant shadows on the castle's walls .And finally,the old lady's death and her bedroom turning into a cathedral...where the two young leads will marry at last ,to the sound of the great organ.Gance will use this kind of grandiose ending again in his " Paradis Perdu" (1939).
"Roman d'un Jeune Homme Pauvre " is a bric a brac,it looks like an ill-assorted collection of furniture.It tells a story of long ago,which takes place in a world almost as remote as the fairytale kingdom where toads could turn into princes (particularly if they WERE princes before a wicked witch cast a spell on them)
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?