The Little Theatre of Jean Renoir (1970)
"Le petit théâtre de Jean Renoir" (original title)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  2 May 1974 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 154 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

Made for television, this film consists of four parts: Part One, "The Last Christmas Dinner," is about the relationship between an old man and an old woman, both homeless. Part Two, "The ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nino Formicola ...
Le clochard / The Bum (segment "Le dernier réveillon")
Milly ...
La clocharde / Female Bum (segment "Le dernier réveillon") (as Milly Monti)
Roger Trapp ...
Max Vialle (segment "Le dernier réveillon")
Robert Lombard ...
Le maître d'hôtel (segment "Le dernier réveillon")
André Dumas ...
Le gérant (segment "Le dernier réveillon")
Roland Bertin ...
Gontran (segment "Le dernier réveillon")
Paul Bisciglia ...
Un clochard (segment "Le dernier réveillon")
Marguerite Cassan ...
Émilie (segment "La cireuse électrique")
Pierre Olaf ...
Gustave, le mari / The Husband (episode "La cireuse électrique")
Jacques Dynam ...
Jules, le second mari / The Second Husband (segment "La cireuse électrique")
Lisa Livane ...
Un amoureux / Young Man (segment "La cireuse électrique") (as Claude Guillaume)
Denis Gunsbourg ...
Un amoureux / Young Man (segment "La cireuse électrique")
Jean-Louis Tristan ...
Le représentant / Agent (segment "La cireuse électrique")
La chanteuse / The Singer (segment "Quand l'amour meurt")
Fernand Sardou ...
Duvallier (segment "Le roi d'Yvetot")


Made for television, this film consists of four parts: Part One, "The Last Christmas Dinner," is about the relationship between an old man and an old woman, both homeless. Part Two, "The Electric Floor Polisher," is an opera-like story of a woman who is obsessed with polishing her floors. Part Three is a musical interlude featuring Jeanne Moreau singing "When Love Dies." Part Four, "The Virtue of Tolerance," concerns an old man, his young wife, and how they come to terms when she has an affair with a man her own age. Written by George S. Davis <>

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Release Date:

2 May 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Little Theatre of Jean Renoir  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Quand l'amour meurt
Music by Octave Crémieux
Lyrics by Georges Millandy (as G. Millandy)
Performed by Jeanne Moreau
(segment "Quand l'amour meurt")
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User Reviews

Farewell,Mister Renoir....
10 August 2007 | by See all my reviews

That was to be Renoir's last work.Renoir,as anyone past infancy should know,was one of the greatest names of the French cinema.Oddly his last work was MTV:even stranger the copy I own is "letterbox" .This format was not used for MTV films before the nineties.

A film made up of sketches,which was more his colleague Julien Duvivier's field.This is a spotty minor work.The director himself appears (but he does not play ,as he did,in notably "la Règle du Jeu" ) and presents,a la Sacha Guitry ,his stories and his actors.The presence of a theater in miniature is not unlike the beginning of his 1931 masterwork "La Chienne" .

Segment one:"Le Dernier Réveillon" or back to Andersen;during the silent era,one of Renoir's best achievements was his stunning treatment of HC Andersen's "La Petite Fille aux Allumettes" .This short is a modern update of the tale.Average.

Segment two:"La Cireuse Electrique" or down with modern technology!This sketch is marred by frequent appearances of a (Greek?) chorus singing appalling tunes ,recalling the worst musical parts of René Clair's comedies of the early thirties such as "Le Million".And however the sketch -you can use your fast forward button for the "songs"- is probably the best of the lot.Marguerite Cassan is very funny as the perfect housewife (a Stepford one?) whose only love seems to be her floor,and whose only desire is to own a floor polisher.When her hubby comes back from work with a promotion,her only thought is that being richer,they can afford that domestic appliance.

Actually the segment displays Renoir's disgust for modern life ,for new ideas (also blatant in the first sketch),for revolution (this was made two years after 1968).It's surprising that the same man did "La Chienne" "Boudu Sauvé des Eaux" or "Le Crime de Monsieur Lange" .

Segment three : "Quand l'Amour Meurt" or Intermezzo.Jeanne Moreau sings one song .Not really exciting.

Segment four: "Le Roi D'Yvetot" or back to Marcel Pagnol.In 1934,Renoir made "Toni " ,a film produced by Pagnol with the Provençal director's actors.This final segment is updated Pagnol : besides,Fernand Sardou resembles Raimu -whom Renoir never directed-,and the story revolves around Pétanque and Ménage à Trois.It never really takes off.

Although he was always praised by the Cahiers du Cinema,Renoir's decline was obvious in the sixties and "Le Petit Theatre" is finally a disappointment after such a brilliant career.

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