A French farce set in Victorian London where a botanist and his wife get into trouble when they pretend to go missing in order to hide from their sanctimonious cousin -- an Anglican bishop who is leading a campaign against such writing.
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Immediate background:Jean Anouilh who wrote the screenplay was to direct the movie but he fell sick and had to give up.He chose Jean Grémillon,one of the great directors of the golden age of the FRench cinema (1935-1945)to do the job and he was right.
Jean Grémillon gathered a splendid cast including Paul Bernard,as the fallen aristocrat ("Pattes Blanches"),Fernand Ledoux,Suzy Delair at her bitchiest,and -the Chabrol fans will notice it- a very young Michel Bouquet as the squire's doomed brother,Sylvie and Arlette Thomas.
This latter actress is completely forgotten today,but her part brings some hope in a desperate -most of Anouilh's plays are- story.Her character ,a hunchback whom Odette (Delair) despises ,resembles Cinderella,a miserable Cinderella (check the admirable sequence in the castle ).Another memorable scene shows the noble,on the edge of the cliff,holding Odette's bridal veil.
Don't let the current rating fool you."Pattes Blanches " ,with its distraught lyricism,is a must.
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