Adapted from a scandalous Victor Margueritte novel,"la garçonne" -aka "jalousie" - is a movie which features three distinct parts:
1.A bourgeois girl lives a life of luxury (tennis) ;her parents want her to marry for money though,because of the decline of their business.She discovers that her fiancé cheats on her,having both a lover and a child!She decides to sever all links with her milieu and her family.This first part is not convincing ,and the story is often confused.But there's an interesting Edith Piaf cameo (credited as " la môme Piaff ,with two f) and you can hear her sing.
2.Then there's the second part:it's by far the most interesting ,because ,for the time ,it was rather daring.For the heroine,it's independence day,no less.She has a lot of affairs ,including one with a woman,Niquette.Niquette is played by glorious Arletty ("les enfants du paradis" ) who is as excellent as ever ;her blonde lesbian (Arletty was actually a brunette) easily outclasses the rest of the cast including the lead (Marie Bell).Although the word "lesbian" is never uttered ,there are really risqué scenes :one of them shows women dressed up as men dancing together;another one takes place in an opium den .Besides,Jean Tissier's character is probably gay too.
3.But unfortunately,the third part destroys everything .Two men tell the girl she should behave herself :then becomes a rivalry between them but the virtuous one will show the sinner the straight and narrow.Goodbye woman's lib ,and hello spit and polish housewife.
Jacqueline Audry would remake "la garçonne" in the fifties :her lead ,Andrée Debar,a strange androgynous actress ,was deemed superior to Marie Bell,but the critics -I' ve not seen that version- generally do not think it's an improvement on the 1936 film except for color.
Another made-for-TV version came later,with Marie Trintignant,whose recent tragic death was widely talked about .
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