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Monsieur Vincent (1947)

St. Vincent de Paul struggles to bring about peace and harmony among the peasant and the nobles in the midst of the Black Death in Europe, carrying on his charitable work in the face of all obstacles.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Lise Delamare ...
Françoise Marguerite de Silly, comtesse de Joigny (as Lise Delamare de la Comédie Française)
Germaine Dermoz ...
...
La présidente Groussault
...
Le chancelier Séguier
Yvonne Gaudeau ...
Louise de Marillac (as Yvonne Gaudeau de la Comédie Française)
...
Le tuberculeux
...
L'abbé Pontail
Gabrielle Fontan ...
La vieille sourde du presbytère de Châtillon
Robert Murzeau ...
Monsieur Bénier
Marcel Pérès ...
La Fouille
Marcel Vallée ...
L'administrateur des hospices
Francette Vernillat ...
La petite fille (as La petite Francette Vernillat)
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Storyline

St. Vincent de Paul struggles to bring about peace and harmony among the peasant and the nobles in the midst of the Black Death in Europe, carrying on his charitable work in the face of all obstacles.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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No Motion Picture Has Ever Expressed So Much!


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Release Date:

20 December 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der heilige Vinzenz  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Système Cottet)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The priest and the poor - a symbiotic relationship?
21 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Before the welfare state there was private charity. Often springing from the ranks of the Christian church, private individuals founded hospitals, hospices, orphanages, and attempted in general to alleviate the misery of the impoverished. Seventeenth century France saw the apogee of the French monarchy, of French power and culture. The monarchy itself sometimes created hospices for the poor. One such was the hospice of Salpétrière founded to help women in trouble or without means. Today it is the hospital that made headlines for a while, since Princess Diana died there.

This film is the story of one man's private endeavor to alleviate suffering. He must be distinguished from today's bleeding heart types in that Vincent de Paul gave up the totality of his possessions to actually go live among the poor. Interesting questions are raised about the psychological underpinnings of poverty itself and the nature of a man willing to renounce comfort to dwell amidst filth, germs and other indignities. He himself acknowledges with some alarm that he is as dependent on the poor as they on him.

He learns that the poor are violent, petty, selfish and arrogant, demanding more than they give in return. But he also finds people willing to improve their lot and to assist him in his Herculean efforts. He is shocked at the conditions in which they live, shocked even more at their resistance to improvement. But Christian charity is a burden that requires one to redouble one's efforts by giving love unrelentingly to those who unrelentingly shun personal responsibility and who hate the one toiling on their behalf. Still, even Vincent de Paul would not continue with such exertions did he not perceive that he was making progress.

The depiction of his wealthy female benefactors is fascinating because they are well-intentioned women willing to do good works, but unable to go beyond a certain limit of generosity. They are painfully honest about the repugnance they feel at the sight of an illegitimate baby.

Few of us could do what Vincent did, living like one obsessed. Likewise, few actors could match the electrifying performance of Pierre Fresnay, whose charisma seems to be divinely inspired. He was one of several great French actors of the classical theater who left an enduring legacy on film. Sir Alec Guinness said Fresnay was his favorite actor.

All in all, a classic with unforgettable performances and haunting black and white photography.


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