This movie shows a strong Duvivier influence:as Marie Bell,in "un carnet de bal" (1937), was in search of her former beaus,Harry Baur ,a man who is getting old,realizes how lonely he is and he decides to look for the sons he had with different women (hence the title=youthful indiscretions).So this is a movie made up of sketches ,with four segments,dealing with the four sons.
segment one:the smug mediocrity of the first boy repels the old man who sneaks away.
segment two:on the contrary,the second offspring is a very talented musician,brought up by his mother and his stepfather,with love and affection.THe old man feels he is in the way and he exits.
segment three:coup de théâtre:the third son was not his son,the mother having had twelve (!) lovers at the time.
segment four:Madeleine,his last lover ,had to sever all links with a family who was ashamed of an unmarried mother.So she decided to take care of a group of orphans .His son is among them,but when the hero comes to see her she does not want to tell him which one is HIS boy.
Segment four is ,by far, the most interesting ,for it displays the Petainist moral in all its splendors and it predates the biggest blockbuster of the Vichy government by one year:"le voile bleu "(remade in America as "the blue veil" starring Jane Wyman).The last woman is everything a woman had to be: a mother ,period.And when she had sinned,the only way to redemption was sacrifice,abnegation and honor.
A very interesting period piece,definitely worth watching,particularly for Harry Baur' s fans.
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