The film was presented in two separate episodes. They were known as "Crime" and "Châtiment" in France (both released on 3rd September 1948). In Italy they were called "Delitto" and "Castigo" and were released respectively on 26th February and 28th February 1948. See more »
An Italian -French co production,"Il Fiacre N. 13 " is the remake of a silent movie "Fiaker Nr. 13 "( Michael Kertész aka Michael Curtiz 1926).
Both movies were adaptations of one of the most famous French serial writers of the nineteenth century's novel ,Xavier De Montépin.Montépin ,like Eugene Sue ("Les Mysteres De Paris" ) or Adolphe D'Ennery ("Les Deux Orphelines " aka "orphans of the storm"),was a past master at melodrama .And I mean melodrama. All the permanent features of the genre are included: the traitor (Marcel Herrand as the noble who goes as far as to have his brother killed),the wrong man sentenced to chain gang ,the "nobody's child",the evil woman,the pure young maid,the dregs of society with curious names (Jean Jeudi= John Thursday probably inspired by the Chourineur character in "Les Mysteres De Paris") .As a bonus ,real life persons appear now and then: emperor Napoleon the Third and wife Eugenie (from a distance) and even psychoanalyst Dr Charcot whose methods would inspire Freud (the emotional shock which saved the poor mother who had lost her reason).
Based on the same structure as Montépin 's most celebrated novel "La Porteuse De Pain" (the bread carrier),the story is composed of two parts :"crime" and "punishment" .At a running time of 150min+ ,the movie was divided into two segments when it was theatrically released ,as it was sometimes the case with French or Itlian movies of the late forties /fifties.
That said ,"Il Fiacre N. 13 " (two credits for the director,but it is likely that Mattoli was the real one;it was Raoul André's sophomore effort and that director made duds by the dozen)is a true delight for people interested in the old melodrama genre.Never a dull moment.
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