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Les parents terribles (1948)

When Michel, who's 22, tells his parents he is in love, his mother Yvonne is distraught, believing she will lose his love (which is the center of her life), and his father Georges is ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Madeleine
Yvonne de Bray ...
Yvonne dite 'Sophie'
Marcel André ...
Georges
...
Tante Léo
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Storyline

When Michel, who's 22, tells his parents he is in love, his mother Yvonne is distraught, believing she will lose his love (which is the center of her life), and his father Georges is distressed because it is Georges' mistress, Madeleine, whom his son loves. Yvonne and Georges financially and emotionally depend on Michel's maiden aunt, Léo, who was once engaged to Georges but gave him up to her sister. Léo resolves to help them separate Michel and Madeleine, choreographs an elaborate meeting at Madeleine's flat where Georges concocts a lie that Madeleine feels she must embrace, and the lovers part. Aunt Léo then has a change of heart and tries to put everything right. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Drama

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Release Date:

22 April 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Storm Within  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in La nuit écoute: Gabrielle Dorziat (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Mother,you had me and I always had you but...
28 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

The parents have rarely been more selfish and nastier than in this Cocteau play.Only Tennessee Williams's Mrs Venable in "suddenly last summer" can compete with Yvonne.Over-possessive to the power of 100,under her bourgeois mask,she is absolutely terrifying.And what about the father?He has an affair with Madeleine,who -coincidence- is in love with his son Michel.And when there's somebody who must sacrifice himself..it won't be him.

The play was ideal for cinema because the atmosphere is stifling,a constant huis clos where the characters are often filmed in close-ups:the parents 'faces exudes meanness,fear of getting old and ugly.Their apartment is deservedly called "la roulotte"(the trailer)as it seems as tiny as their occupants' heart.The only generous person is aunt Leo (Gabrielle Dorziat,dazzling as ever) who tries to save the young couple,because she knows what an unfulfilled life means;when she was young,she used to love her brother-in-law,Yvonne's now husband and she sacrified herself for her ungrateful sister.

Michel (Jean Marais ,a bit too old for the part but his gusto and his dynamism easily makes up for it) and Madeleine (Josette Day,who had already teamed up with Marais in classic "la belle et la bête") are unfortunate victims of the boy's old folks .

It 's untrue to say,as a precedent user mentions,that the nouvelle vague was rebelling against Jean Cocteau.He was never a target for them as was for instance,Jean Delannoy(who teamed up with Cocteau several times :"l'éternel retour"(1943) and "la princesse de Clèves" (1961).)

Cocteau is a monstre sacré.His works will outlive most of Godard's farces.I do hope they will.


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