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Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  3 April 1964 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,316 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 24 critic

A society lady engineers a marriage between her lover and a cabaret dancer who is essentially a prostitute.

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(scenario & adaptation), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Paul Bernard ...
Jean
María Casares ...
Hélène
Elina Labourdette ...
Agnès
Lucienne Bogaert ...
Mme. D
Jean Marchat ...
Jacques
Yvette Etiévant ...
La bonne
Marcel Rouzé
Bernard La Jarrige
Lucy Lancy
Nicole Regnault
Emma Lyonel
Marguerite de Morlaye
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Storyline

Hélène understands that Jean doesn't love her anymore. She is full of grief and anger, and she starts brooding on revenge. When she meets Jean, she pretends herself to be the one that has ceased to love the other. Jean is relieved, because now he thinks they can part as friends. Hélène goes to a night club, where a young woman, Agnès, is a famous dancer. Agnés has been forced into this life of debauchery and courtesanship because of poverty. She hates it and all the lecherous men. Hélène has met Agnès and her mother several years ago, and after the show she looks them up. She says that she will help them to leave this degrading life. The next day they shall move to an apartment she has rented, and stay there anonymously. Some days later she arranges a seemingly spontaneous meeting between Jean and Agnès in the Bois de Boulogne. Jean immediately falls in love with Agnès, who he thinks is an innocent girl from the countryside. Fueled by Hélène, and by Agnès's resistance, his infatuation... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | dancer | poverty | cabaret | friend | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 April 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ladies of the Park  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Agnes is dancing in the club, her costume changes between when she is dancing and when she goes to her dressing room. The lower edge of the costume on her thighs varies between a straight edge and a ruffled one. See more »

Quotes

Agnès: [looking aroud her new home] Are you sure all this is necessary? If so, I accept it. But do you realize what we are in for?
Mme. D: I do. Our life was a nightmare.
Agnès: And this is a dream?
See more »

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: La monnaie de l'absolu (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Vague characterization mars story of a woman's revenge
23 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Robert Bresson's 1945 adaptation of Denis Diderot's novel Jacque Le Fataliste leaves a few gaps for modern film buffs to jump over in order to appreciate this war-time love story. The secondary character of Agnes is supposed to be a prostitute with a vague connection to the main character, Helene, but other than an amazingly athletic dance in an up-scale cabaret, she shows no inclinations toward the lascivious or even the exotic. When she leaves the club after the fore-mentioned dance, she leaves alone, disdaining men in general and the many flowers they leave her in token of their desire,affection, whatever. Further muddling Agnes' character is her virginal demeanor after leaving the profession and taking Helene's charity. Perhaps this is done in order to seem worthy of help or it may simply be a lack of continuity in the development of Agnes' character. Agnes'mother seems also to bring a unique portrayal to her role as the mother of a prostitute. But my limited experience really doesn't qualify me to assess accurately such a role. Perhaps my inundation with American films leaves me with expectations of seedy stereotypes to fulfill my need for character identity. In any case, both Agnes and her mother seem obscurely rendered. On the other hand, Helene, played by Maria Casares, is portrayed with a well-nuanced undercurrent of revenge and manipulation, even a bit over-the-top in places, but entertainingly so. Her motivations are never far from the surface as she manipulates Jacque/Jean in order to get revenge for his having lost his passion for her, though apparently not his grudging admiration of her. They remain good friends and generally imply a relationship far more sophisticated than modern Americans might understand, given the change that's occurred in their emotional situation. The role of Jacque/Jean is very adequately portrayed by Paul Bernard as a love-sick boob of a Parisian businessman. He is absolutely hilarious in a scene where he leaves his marriage to Agnes in a fit of pique, having finally been told, both by Agnes and Helene, the true character of his beloved, and bangs his large coupe into another car, flails pathetically with the steering wheel while trying to get out of the car park, and finally roars off in a cloud of consternation while Helene smirks sardonically. My dedication to this plot is compromised because none of Agnes' seedy past has been portrayed on screen; thus, I have no emotional connection to her character. And this brings me back to my main problem with this film. Agnes and her mother seem totally misrepresented or else I simply expect too much scandal in a film about a prostitute- probably more my problem than theirs. Another odd point- The film shows a remarkably well functioning city which we have been led to believe was suffering under the oppressive occupation of the Wehrmacht. But I suppose as in all wars, it is only the lower classes who suffer the depredations of military conflict. I think I'll have a look at the novel and see if the film becomes in comparison more interesting. Adding further challenge to an appreciation of this film, the b&w exposure quality, though never bad, is uneven toward the end.

The film was not un-enjoyable but I was usually shaking my head in disbelief whenever Agnes was represented as a virginal prostitute. I guess I expected more sophistication from a french film maker.


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