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Generally I do not go much for Denys De La Patellière ,which represents one of the worst aspect of the old school;but there are exceptions :the first was "Retour De Manivelle" a suspenseful film noir .
"Le Voyage Du Père " is a return to the thirties melodrama ,the likes of "La Petite Lise" ,"Jenny ""Angèle" .Like them,it features a faux happy end .Fernandel walks a fine line between comedy (the scenes when he arrives in Lyon are echoes of the naive character he often played in the past ) and tragedy (never he seemed so vulnerable,so desperate and so old that in this final sequence where he looks like the old horse he would have to lead to the slaughterhouse four years later in "Heureux Qui Comme Ulysse".
The directing is, by and large,undistinguished,although the first and last pictures ,which show the magnificent mountain landscapes enhanced by the lovely Gavarentz music,are really good taste ;the acting is faultless :how can you be wrong when you get Laurent Terzieff,the most gifted actor of his generation,as the wistful schoolteacher ,in love with the daughter,in a restrained performance,Madeleine Robinson as madam who lights the candle and "who takes care of her girls",Michel Auclair in the underwritten part of a sentimental client and Lili Palmer ,as the hero's wife,who dreams of a better life for her daughters and is still dreaming when the movie's over.
The movie was slagged off by the critic ,then totally under the young Turks of the Nouvelle Vague' s thumb and it's unfair cause this movie and "Heureux Qui Comme Ulysse" are certainly Fernandel's swan songs
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