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A Cage of Nightingales (1945)

La cage aux rossignols (original title)
In France, in 1930, a supervisor of a boarding school for young offenders seeks to awaken the music by forming a choir, despite the skepticism of his boarding school director.

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Writers:

(story), (adaptation) | 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Micheline Francey ...
Micheline
René Génin ...
René Blancard ...
Marguerite Ducouret ...
La mère de Micheline
...
La présidente
Marthe Mellot ...
Mère Marie
Michel François ...
Eloi Lequerec
Georges Paulais ...
Monsieur Langlois
André Nicolle ...
Monsieur de la Prade
Richard Francoeur ...
Monsieur de Mazère
Georges Jamin ...
Régent (as Jamin)
Henry Prestat ...
(as Prestat)
Jean Morel ...
Le nouveau directeur (as Morel)
Henri Coutet ...
(as Coutet)
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Storyline

"La Cage aux rossignols" (A Cage of Nightingales) is the title of an autobiographical book that a young writer try to publish, which would allow him to marry so charming Martine. Under a pseudonym, Clement's book is published in La Dépêche a daily newspaper that publishes novels as serials. Martine can read the novel to her mother (voice-over). Story of this music lover, supervisor of a boarding reserved for young offenders who asks only to discover the joys of music by forming a choir. But Clément does not have only friends. The director of the institution, man petty and narrow-minded, never misses an opportunity to throw a spanner in the works... Written by Sangria K, France

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 September 1945 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Cage of Nightingales  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was the co-winner of the Prix Désiré, awarded for the first and only time in 1944.. The other co-winner was Children of Paradise (1945). See more »

Connections

Remade as The Chorus (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre
Performed by Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois
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User Reviews

Enjoyable family film extolling kindness over discipline
25 February 2004 | by (Putney, VT) – See all my reviews

We've seen the plot a gazillion times (unruly children in a boarding school type of setting under rigid discipline, act out and are tamed by new teacher with principles of kindness). Why, even Julie Andrews got to do this on a modest level in THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

The tale is told mainly in flashback. Since it is an extremely rare film stateside and it's taken me forty years to track it down, I'll summarize the story here.

Clement is an out of work writer, trying to get his novelette sold. His girlfriend's (Martine) mother disapproves of the liaison. Clement's friend, Raymond, works as a concierge/gofer in a newspaper office. He tries to get Clement's story (LA CAGE AUX ROSSIGNOLS) printed but the editor ignores it. When the editor approves a story with a similar title (LA CAGE AUX VERRES)for publication, Raymond switches the story, it is printed and is a hit. At this point Martine starts reading the story to her slowly tolerant mother and we enter flashback 18 minutes into the film. The flashback takes up the final hour.

Clement comes to a reform school to teach and finds the boys out of control under the supervision of a martinet. One has damaged the porter's eye with a prank. By treating the boys as adults and validating them, he wins them over into model pupils. He even brings the prankster to remorse for his actions. The boys learn to love Clement and behave for him. When he discovers accidentally that they have naturally beautiful voices, he organizes them into a choir which pleases the trustees of the school. He eventually leaves in a touching farewell.

Back to the present and the boys all surprise him by singing for him at his wedding, including a lad who rejected the group but whom Clement eventually won over.

This is all nicely done - the direction is solid, the film well-paced, the performers all likeable. Not a great film by any means but a very pleasant one. Micheline Francey who plays Martine is lovely but Noel-Noel, a popular French star and homely as almost all of their male stars were, does an okay job in a role seemingly meant for Jean Gabin.

If this was the first film to use this plot device then I would agree with its Oscar nomination for Best Original Story. If not, then not. The music is well done. Worth a look.


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