Spellbinding,fascinating film,in a wintry snowy atmosphere which Christian-Jaque's camera perfectly captures.Wonderful pictures:the dead body in the snow raising a hand;the dark horse,galloping in the mountains,as if this animal were demanding justice for his murdered master;the fete ,with the dance complete with quaint instruments ... The whole movie is a feast for the eye .The soundtrack essentially consists of the old French folk song "Aux Marches du Palais " (which Serge Bourguignon would use again in "Cybèle Et Les Dimanches de Ville D'Avray" aka "Sundays and Cybèle" ) which is played again and again,and even sung in full by Renée Faure.
If the film is visually a splendor,I do not think that Prévert's screenplay is perfect .It sometimes drags on and the first dialog between Ledoux and Coedel is rather talky;so is Pigaut's and Faure's interminable love scene.Renée Faure is not attractive enough to portray a romantic peasant girl successfully.She is overshadowed,every step of the way ,by sensational Madeleine Robinson ,one of the greatest actresses France has ever had.Robinson and Pigaut had already teamed up in Claude Autant-Lara's classic "Douce" (1942) and the scenes where they are together (particularly the ball)takes the film out on a level of stratospheric intensity that simply rises above the rest and makes the
Faure/Pigaut scenes bland by comparison.
Like this?Try these:
"Goupi Mains Rouges" Jacques Becker 1943
"L'Assassinat du Père Noel" Christian -Jaque 1941
"Barry" Richard Pottier 1949
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