Honoré Panisse is dying, cheerfully, with friends, wife, and son at his side. He confesses to the priest in front of his friends; he insists that the doctor be truthful. But, he cannot ... See full summary »
Honoré Panisse is dying, cheerfully, with friends, wife, and son at his side. He confesses to the priest in front of his friends; he insists that the doctor be truthful. But, he cannot bring himself to tell his son Cesariot that his real father is Marius, the absent son of César, Cesariot's godfather. Panisse leaves that to Fanny, the lad's mother. Dissembling that he's off to see a friend, Cesariot then seeks Marius, now a mechanic in Toulon. Posing as a journalist, Cesariot spends time with Marius and leaves believing tales he is a petty thief. Only after the truth comes out can Marius, Fanny, César, and Cesariot step beyond the falsehoods, benign though they may be. Written by
Following his sterling work in the first two episodes Raimu finally gets to play the eponymous character in the wind-up. It's impossible to overpraise this outstanding actor, dead in his 60th year with a far-too-meagre body of screen work as his legacy. Orson Welles once called Raimu the 'greatest actor who ever lived' and anything good enough for Awesome Welles is more than good enough for me. A local lad, Raimu spoke with the accent of the 'Midi' and whilst directing the first part of the trilogy, 'Marius', Alexander Korda, hired by Pagnol to direct, remarked to Producer Pagnol that Raimu's accent was execrable and would not be understood outside Provence. Pagnol's reply not only did him credit but was a classic. 'Monsieur Raimu cannot be replaced. You can'. Nuff said. Here, some five years after he first played Cesar on film and seven since he created the role on stage, Raimu segues seamlessly into the middle age of the character and gives an Acting Class to disciple Charles Laughton, who, in imitating slavishly the Frenchman found only ham and missed completely the filet mignon; indeed the comparison between Raimu and Laughton is akin to the one between Fred Astaire and Gene Kelley, one the one hand a thoroughbred on the other a carthorse. Inevitably with loose ends to be tied up and the death of a major character to accommodate this final episode is destined to disappoint if only because it reminds us of its illustrious predecessors. The 'minor' writer, Pagnol, would continue to write classic tales as all great storytellers do and Raimu would even appear in a couple, The Baker's Wife and The Well-Digger's Daughter, but what he would have brought to 'Papet' in 'Jean de Florette' and I write as one whose admiration for Yves Montand knows no bounds. 9/10
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