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The Phantom Baron (1943)
"Le baron fantôme" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  16 June 1943 (France)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 52 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

Elfy, Countess of Saint-Hélié's daughter, was brought up with her foster sister Anne, in an old dilapidated castle whose landlord, Baron Julius Carol, disappeared mysteriously some day. The... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (dialogue), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Phantom Baron (1943)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
André Lefaur ...
Odette Joyeux ...
Elfy de Saint-Hélié
Jany Holt ...
Anne
Alain Cuny ...
Hervé
Gabrielle Dorziat ...
La comtesse de Saint-Helie
André Alerme ...
Le colonel (as Alerme)
Aimé Clariond ...
L'évêque
Marguerite Pierry ...
Fébronie Dauphin
Claude Sainval ...
Albéric de Marignac
Charles Vissières ...
Toussaint - le domestique
...
Le baron Julius Carol - le baron fantôme
Marguerite de Morlaye ...
Une vieille dame
Marcel Pérès ...
Léopold - le frère de Fébronie
Jean Diéner ...
Joseph - le cocher
Jacques Ory ...
Hervé enfant
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Storyline

Elfy, Countess of Saint-Hélié's daughter, was brought up with her foster sister Anne, in an old dilapidated castle whose landlord, Baron Julius Carol, disappeared mysteriously some day. The two girls had a playmate, Hervé, the son of the gamekeeper. Now that they are adult, Anne is in love with Hervé while Elfy thinks she loves the young man. One day, the baron's mummified body is found in an oubliette and the secret of the estate is revealed... Written by Guy Bellinger

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Plot Keywords:

royalty | ghost | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

16 June 1943 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Phantom Baron  »

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1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Re-released in France in 1971. See more »

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User Reviews

Wartime fantasy
30 August 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The film has a prologue that might have strayed in from an RKO horror movie: a storm, a dilapidated castle, a coach and horses, a sinister cat, a terrified butler, and an evil-looking baron (played by Jean Cocteau) who mysteriously vanishes.

The mood then changes swiftly as we jump ahead 10 years and are introduced to the principal characters: Elfy, the daughter of the castle's new owner; her friend, Anne; the woodsman, Hervé; and the young army officer who is coming around courting. The romantic intrigues of these four are played out against the background of the ruined castle and the mystery of the baron's disappearance.

At the heart of the film is the relationship between the troubled Hervé (Alain Cuny) and Jany Holt's bookish Anne. Neither has acknowledged their feelings when Hervé, who sleepwalks, comes into Anne's bedroom and carries her through the moonlit castle grounds, her long nightdress catching on the branches and trailing through the damp grass. It's a subtly erotic and beautifully cinematic moment, recalling the abduction scene in Caligari, but with the twist here that the girl is awake and loving every minute of it.

In scenes like this, and the discovery of the baron's secret (which I won't reveal), Poligny shows a masterful talent for the fantasy genre. The film's weakness is that it has too few such moments, and too many minor characters who serve no more than an incidental comedic purpose. Fortunately, the performances of Holt (sincere, passionate and vulnerable) and Cuny (brooding and intense, as in the previous year's Les Visiteurs du soir) keep the film from floating off into lightweight comedy.

Co-written by Cocteau and filmed during the Nazi Occupation, Le Baron fantôme was one of the more inventive responses to the directive to avoid topical subjects.


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