The beautiful and frivolous wife of a plantation owner in antebellum Louisiana, proves unsatisfactory at running the household, leading her serious-minded husband to enlist the help of her unmarried sister.
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'The toy wife' or how to spoil your own life and the lives of others by being fickle and frivolous. This is the story of Gilberte, a beautiful sixteen-year-old girl who charms, attracts and seduces all the men she meets. Back in Louisiana after a stay in France, she will steal her fiancé from her loving and beloved sister Louise. Once married with George, she will prove a poor mother for little Georgie, a poor manager of the plantation and an unfaithful wife. She indeed starts an affair with André, the dashing young man she actually loves. Tragedy will ensue. Written by
The play "Frou-frou" by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy opened in Paris, France on 30 October 1869. Its English adaptation, "Frou Frou," by Augustin Daly, opened in New York on 15 February 1870. See more »
Based on a French play from the nineteenth century (1869) ,"Frou Frou" is virtually forgotten in its native country .Only a waltz which has little (or nothing ) to do with the character is still played for Thé-Dansant for old generations .To my knowledge ,no other movie (even French) or MTV work has been done since Richard Thorpe's .
Thorpe partially succeeding in giving a French aristocratic touch to the film.There are some lines in that language ,and the classic old folk tune "Au Clair De La Lune" is heard again and again and again ,a good choice,for it is primarily a children's song and the heroine (check the title) has never grown up whereas her sister was born an adult.You cannot blame Frou Frou for what she's done because she is in a world she does not understand;Whatever she does, she is out of steps with what the others do :her sister (why shouldn't be jealous of her?) , her son (Isn't she a good mother?) , her husband (isn't she a good wife at least in her mind?) and even her lover (isn't it only a stopgap solution?)
Sainte Catherine is the heroine's model.This character has been part of the French culture for a long time and plays a prominent part in Frou Frou's life :she often says a prayer to her and when everything turns to gray ,her last resort is to go and implore her idol.The Catherinettes were girls of 25 still unmarried by the Feast of Sainte Catherine (25th November);the tradition is slowly fading nowadays.
"The toy woman" (which was retitled "Frou Frou " in the French version,although the American title is much more relevant) is a good melodrama which would deserve a better rating than the mediocre 5,8 it's got at my time of writing
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