Young, handsome, dashing but cynical, Octave Mouret arrives in Paris, determined to conquer the belles of the capital. His first attempts are not too successful though as he is rebuffed by ... See full summary »
Young, handsome, dashing but cynical, Octave Mouret arrives in Paris, determined to conquer the belles of the capital. His first attempts are not too successful though as he is rebuffed by Valérie Vabre, the neurotic wife of the landlord of the block of flats he is accommodated in. As for the affair he starts with Caroline Hédouin, the married owner of "Au Bonheur des Dames", the shop where he works, the least we can say is that it lacks passion. But he does seduce Berthe, a girl he refused to marry when her mother tried to force her on him, now that she is married with another. He will finally achieve his end when Caroline, now widowed and needing a man to help her manage her business, asks him... to marry her! Written by
DUVIVIER,AUTAN-LARA,DECOIN ,etc... where some of the film-directors of "french quality" film-making of the fifties,who where criticized and supplanted by the "New-Wave",with TRUFFAUT,GODARD,etc... To-night ,in one of those charming little old theatres of the latin quarter in Paris ,I've just seen POT-BOUILLE (Julien Duvivier 1957). I found it a quite acceptable sample of that period of the French production.Appropriate casting,good actor's direction,excellent lighting,costumes and setting without flaw!! Excellent craftsmanship,from people who mastered their job within the studio system. Of course it has the theatrical side of a studio job,with very professional people ,but it is never out of purpose,it is with the aim of serving a story without annoying the audience. And What a story !the famous novel of EMILE ZOLA :POT-BOUILLE. The adaptation for the screen,keeps close to the subject : show the backstage life of the parisian lower-middle class of shop-keepers,in the textile trade ,in the late 19th century.Outward respectability,inward sordidness,and money strategies.Outward respectable married couples,inward war,deceiving ,adultery.In showing the life of the inhabitants of one building ,the social antagonisms between the masters and the servants is not forgotten ,reminding us of the society of the have and have not, of the paris of the time,for whose crude pictures Zola will remain famous.Nothing to see with the English title :lovers of Paris !!! POT-BOUILLE meaning something like :let'us wash our dirty linen within the family. Don't conclude from this that the film is black and sordid. It has the rhythm and the witty dialogues of a comedy. It's worth seeing but rare on screen .
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