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I wonder if he knew about it.... (Yoko Ono,lyrics slightly modified)
In the early thirties ,it was usual to film the same movie in French and in German.Duvivier did it with "Les Cinq Gentlemans Maudits " ,his peer Robert Siodmak did the same for "Tumultes" ("Sturme Der Leidenschaft").In the mid-fifties ,it was less common,but anyway "Marianne" is unique,a movie which becomes stronger and stronger each time you watch it .I've received more messages about it than about any other Duvivier 's movie ...and than any other French movie!It's incredibly popular in Japan ,and if it so, it's because it's not a movie like the other ones ,it's not a movie like the other Duvivier (although the director had already shown lots of flair for mysterious dreamlike atmospheres as "La Charrette Fantome" and his best American film "Flesh and Fantasy" testify .
Like many Duvivier's buffs,I saw the French version first.When you compare the two movies,it's to state the obvious to write that Horst Buchholz is a better Vincent than Pierre Vaneck .He was often nicknamed the German James Dean and he is ideally cast as an adolescent -although he was 23- for his boyish good looks ,his "Actor Studioesque playing and his face which always looks strained work wonders.Marianne Hold plays in the two movies (like her female co-star Isabelle Pia)and Duvivier films her lovingly :she and Buchholz were par excellence the ideal couple.
"Marianne" is perhaps the most purely artistic work Duvivier ever created and in its own particular way,it stands with his best.The black and white cinematography is stunning and you go into raptures over these misty banks ,these forests full of deers ,this castle where boys have their first experience of friendship ,of love and of dreams;they are still dreaming of Prince Charming,of princesses in jeopardy,of villains waiting in the dark house across the lake which they say is haunted.The movie contains scenes that will have you on the edge of your seats : the concert ,beginning with a classical piece (Mozart) which seems to make the boys yawn their heads off and ending with a South American folk tune when the audience goes literally into a trance;Vincent ,beating the jealous girl ,an anti-romantic scene in the most romantic of all French movies of the fifties ;the storm which is not only around the castle -Duvivier had directed a similar scene in his portion of "destiny" for which he was not credited-;the mysterious mansion where they're preparing a feast complete with banquet ,flowers and altar but where nobody comes until...;and this extraordinary fair ,where the parade adds another disturbing touch...Are we in some Perrault's fairy tale?
"Marianne" is one of these rare movies which can mesmerize you.When it's over ,you ask to yourself:was it a dream? Was It a dream I had when I was younger,so much younger than today?
A Propos of Horst Buchholz : he did not make the career he deserved ,being too gifted for what the directors had to offer him.Who still remembers he was the physician in the concentration camp in "La Vita E Bella" ?At least he ended his career on a high note.
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