Although it is a pleasant movie ,it seems like a draft, a rehearsal for Autant-Lara's next movie "douce".
Autant-Lara was mainly known for his collaborations with Lehmann (three in all, one of them "fric frac" is particularly memorable).During the Occupation he began to work on his own and he would become an important artist with such works as "douce "(1943)"le diable au corps"(1946) "l'auberge rouge" (1951)or "la traversée de Paris" (1956).
"Le marriage de chiffon" is his first real work.It casts Odette Joyeux as Chiffon (her nickname) an aristocrat offbeat young girl who finds it hard to live in a milieu full of social conventions.Her mother (Suzanne Dantès,whose strident playing seems almost unbearable today),a widow,wants her to marry a wealthy noble military man whom she met at a railway station.Although the young girl is not aware of it,she's in love with her uncle (by marriage!).But Claude Autant-Lara's dice are loaded because even if this uncle is a flying pioneer and a broke man,he's still an aristocrat.A liberal aristocrat is no misalliance.Of course she's much younger than him,and besides he's got a mistress,but it's only a question of social class.
That's why "le marriage de chiffon" does not really satisfy.Hotheaded Autant-Lara adjusted the fire the next year and it became a wholesale massacre.Casting again Odette Joyeux as an aristocrat ingenuous person,he pitted her milieu against the plebeian one.And it was his masterpiece,"douce" ,which remains today as fascinating as it was in 1943.Such is not the case of "le marriage de chiffon" which may seem old hat for a lot of people today.
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