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Rural well-digger Pascal has a pretty 18-year-old daughter Patricia who grew up in Paris; he dreams of her marrying his middle-aged partner Felipe. But she meets young Jacques Mazel from the village; one thing leads to another, and when both Jacques and Felipe go off to war, she's carrying Jacques's child. Faced with estrangement from her father, denial by Jacques' family, and the news that Jacques himself is missing in action, will Patricia agree to marry Felipe? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film was started on 20th May 1940 but interrupted because of the war. It was only resumed on 13th August of the same year with Line Noro replacing Betty Daussmond in the role of Marie Mazel. The film was released in France unoccupied zone in December 1940, but only in April 1941 in the occupied zone. See more »
A full-fledged Pagnol masterpiece - Marius or La Femme du boulanger - is as good as movies get. So a lesser Pagnol masterpiece is still worth watching. As the others have remarked, there is a lot of melodrama to this movie. But the best scenes rise above that. Orson Welles supposedly called Raimu the greatest actor in movies, and I'm not about to question that. The scene where he goes to the Mazel family to ask Jacques' parents to convince their son to marry his daughter and the subsequent scene where he sends his pregnant but unwed daughter away are as deeply moving as movies will ever get. Raimu gets more out of underacting than a hundred actors could get out of overacting. Charpin gets to play nasty as well as repentant, and he is good at both. It's a long movie - perhaps Pagnol needed a good editor; perhaps - but it never drags once it focuses on the real story: not Patricia's love for Jacques - that is just run-of-the-mill melodrama, the sort of thing we made in this country with Stanwyck and Davis and Crawford - but the emotions of the three parents, all of whom lose their children at one point in the story.
This is not Marius or La Femme du boulanger, but it's still very much worth watching.
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