Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  3 April 1964 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 2,666 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 25 critic

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



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

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


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


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 April 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ladies of the Park  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Agnes falls after dancing in her apartment, her head is seen resting upon the skirt of her costume. But in the close shot when her mother goes to her, her head is seen to be on the floor. See more »


[last lines]
Agnès: You're here. In time perhaps you'll forgive me. But don't hurry. So many honest girls become dishonest women. Perhaps I'll show the opposite can happen. I'm not yet worthy of having you come close to me. Wait. Just leave me a little hope. Then you can judge my behaviour. I'll be happy if you can bear my presence. Show me a corner of your house where I can live. I'll stay there without protest. I'm not evil. I know myself. I was weak. And I was in love with you. That's my only excuse...
See more »


Featured in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

"Hell hath no fury . . ."
20 March 2012 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) was written and directed by Robert Bresson. This movie is the second feature film by the great French director Bresson. It's the last film in which he used professional actors.

In a story somewhat reminiscent of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, two wealthy, sophisticated lovers have a parting of the ways. Hélène, played by María Casares, senses that Jean (Paul Bernard) is losing interest in her. She suggests that they separate, and he agrees. The problem is that he agrees too readily. Hélène feigns indifference, but she plots revenge.

The weapon of revenge is Agnès, played by Elina Labourdette. Agnès is a young cabaret dancer and (we understand) a prostitute. This is an ingénue role, and it's clear that Agnès is a serious dancer, forced into this role in order to support herself and her mother. The remainder of the story depicts the way the elaborate revenge scheme involving Agnès is carried out.

Labourdette and Bernard are fine actors, and both had long careers in French cinema. However, the success of the movie comes from the extraordinary appearance and acting skills of María Casares. Casares, although Spanish, had an extremely successful career on both the French stage and screen. With her lithe figure and elegant clothing, she is every inch the French socialite. She is not beautiful in a typical cinematic way. Instead, with her triangular, almost feline face, and her narrowed eyes, she is fascinating. She dominates every scene in which she appears. No one questions her motive for revenge and her ability to achieve it. Bresson directs the film--and Casares--with the hand of a master.

We saw this movie on the large screen at the excellent Dryden Theatre at Eastman House in Rochester, NY. The person who introduced the film said it was the only print in the United States at present. This print is owned by the French government, and only lent to selected institutions. A DVD is available, but may be of a somewhat different version. Still, even if the DVD isn't an ideal substitute for the print version, it's worth obtaining and seeing. This is one of the great films of French cinema. Don't miss it!

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