7.4/10
187
5 user 1 critic

Love Story (1943)

Douce (original title)
In Paris in 1887, Irène works as a governess to Douce, the grand-daughter of the dowager Countess de Bonafé. Douce believes she is in love with Fabien, the handsome manager of the estate. ... See full summary »

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(adaptation), (dialogue) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Odette Joyeux ...
...
Irène Comtat
Marguerite Moreno ...
Madame de Bonafé
...
Engelbert de Bonafé
Roger Pigaut ...
Fabien Marani
Gabrielle Fontan ...
Estelle
Richard Francoeur ...
Julien (as Francoeur)
Paul Oettly ...
Le prêtre (as Oettly)
Julienne Paroli ...
La vieille Thérèse
Georges Bever ...
Le frotteur (as Bever)
Louis Florencie ...
Le palefrenier (as Florencie)
Fernand Blot ...
Le livreur
Marie-José ...
La chanteuse
Lycette Darsonval ...
La danseuse

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Storyline

In Paris in 1887, Irène works as a governess to Douce, the grand-daughter of the dowager Countess de Bonafé. Douce believes she is in love with Fabien, the handsome manager of the estate. However she cannot hope to marry him because of their class difference. Douce's widowed father, the Count de Bonafé, has a wooden leg, and is infatuated with Irène. Douce discovers that Fabien is planning to flee to Quebec with Irène, and also finds out that the Count has asked Irène to marry him. So Douce tells Fabien this and convinces him to run away with her, causing consternation in the family. Written by Will Gilbert

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based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

25 June 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Love Story  »

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Sound Mix:

(Klangfilm Eurocord)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Featured in Safe Conduct (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
DOUCE (Claude Autant-Lara, 1943) ***1/2
24 January 2010 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

DOUCE – known in the English-speaking world under the blandly generic title of LOVE STORY but, obviously bearing no relation to either the 1944 British movie or the popular 1970 American romance – inaugurated Claude Autant-Lara's great period that would end 15 years later with EN CAS DE MALHEUR (1958; see my review above) and incorporated around a dozen films. Although I have been aware from the outset of the film's renown – via Leslie Halliwell's positive capsule review and its being selected by the "Movie" magazine (published in the 1980s) as a key film of 1943 – the review that made me really prick up my ears was the ***** one in the inestimable "Films De France" website which also goes so far as to declare it Lara's best. Ostensibly a period romance, what actually unfolds is a bleak portrayal of bourgeois hypocrisy that has few peers among its contemporaries: Lara's stylish direction makes brilliant use of tracking shots on studio sets to display the immediate surroundings of the mansion owned by the noble Parisian family whose life over the Christmas 1887 period we follow throughout the course of the movie. Clever scripting and sparkling dialogue (courtesy of the ubiquitous writing duo of Jean Aurenche-Pierre Bost) are highlighted in two outstanding sequences: the opening showing a solemn Christmas mass being 'interrupted' by the socially-sensitive confession of a mysterious lady whose identity (or that of whom she is speaking) we are not sure of until much later, and the wonderfully ironic Boxing Day sequence featuring the wealthy matriarch bestowing purposefully 'small' gifts on the paupers of her community flanked by her ostensibly blissful (but actually freshly broken-up) younger companions. To top it all, we have a handful of impeccable performances from a relatively unknown cast: Odette Joyeux (portraying the fated title character, hers is easily a career-best performance; in real-life, she was Mrs. Pierre Brasseur and mother of actor Claude), Madeleine Robinson (as Douce's maid/companion, she inadvertently is the catalyst for the surge of passions that eventually brings down the family who 'adopted' her), Marguerite Moreno (delightful as the archetypal cantankerous matriarch), Jean Debucourt (as Douce's one-legged father, movingly portraying his forbidden and unrequited love for the socially inferior Robinson) and Roger Pigaut (as the other rogue dependent of the family: he loves Robinson but, impatient of her stalling and jealous of Debucourt's attentions, turns to Douce instead who, on her part, willfully gives in to her precocious impulses). The ending, then, is at once tragic and paradoxical: runaway couple Joyeux and Pigaut decide they are not made for each other after all but, while fully intent on returning into the folds of her family, Douce expires in a fire at a theater…and the original, socially acceptable couple of Robinson-Pigaut are subsequently reunited in their being simultaneously expelled from the mourning household!


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