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The Prize More at IMDbPro »Le rosier de Madame Husson (original title)

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A short story by Guy de Maupassant.....

Author: dbdumonteil
20 July 2007

.....Marcel Pagnol wrote the dialog and provided the movie with his own wife Jacqueline.Both him and Jean Boyer wanted Bourvil to play the lead.But the actor was reluctant,knowing Fernandel had created the role in the thirties."But said Pagnol,you will be a better Normand than him cause you are Normand and your colleague was Provençal!" The first scene is enough to convince you the part was tailor-made for Bourvil: the village idiot,leaping about in the meadows where the cows browses on peacefully,picking flowers ...but when a woman comes near,he's so afraid he runs away....

Madame Husson and her circle of holier-than-thou ladies -including an old maid Madame Cadenas (=Mrs Padlock (sic))-are looking for a chaste and pure girl who will win a hefty sum!There's just one problem:the virgin girls are so rare that they are forced to elect a man: the village idiot! Maupassant's story is faithfully transferred to the screen in the two first thirds of the movie .Pagnol's dialog scores high and the movie is much fun to watch.But the last third drastically wanders from the writer's work.When Bourvil leaves the fête and goes to the pond,and realizes how miserable he is,one thinks for a while that the thespian will turn the comedy into a drama -he is as skillful an actor to do this-.But the ending is finally disappointing,some days in Paris are not enough to transform a sexually repressed man such as him!

N.B: In Maupassant's short story,Isidore,the goofy peasant, goes to Paris too,but he begins to drink hard and becomes a wreck.His mother turns his prodigal son out,and he becomes a carter,with no love of his own,of course.Maupassant was not as optimistic as Pagnol.

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A movie worth seeing

Author: richard-1787 ( from United States
17 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Those who know the classic Pagnol movies - Marius/Fanny/César, The Baker's Wife, etc. - will find this different, and it is. And while it is not on the level of Pagnol's masterpieces, it is still an enjoyable film, and one worth watching.

In a small town, a group of wealthy women decide to give a Virtue Prize to a young woman who has reached the age of 18 without losing her virtue (read chastity). They interview all the women in town, but for one reason or another dismiss all the candidates. The town council - all men - laugh at them, so out of spite they award the prize to a very naive young man, Isidore, who has been too bashful to pursue women - though they have been pursuing him. With the prize comes 100,000 francs.

At the banquet held to award the prize Isidore, unaccustomed to drinking, gets drunk on a few glasses of wine, and soon wanders off. He happens to meet the Countess, the least prudish member of that women's committee, and tells her that he is headed to Paris. She finds him charming and offers him a lift in her car.

Next scene: the next morning. Isidore has evidently spent the night with the Countess, and as Grace Moore used to say, One Night of Love can do a a lot for a person. It totally changes Isidore, who gains self-confidence, not to mention a healthy appetite for sex.

He returns to his small town (on a bicycle that the Countess bought him; remember, this is a French movie) and dismays his mother and the women's committee with his change. He finds one of the young women who used to pursue him, pursues her, and after a few good rolls in the hay - literally - announces that he is going to marry her. So much for "virtue." Sex is more fun, any day ;)

Not, as I said, a great movie, but a fun one. It has Pagnol's typical leisurely pacing, but Bourvil gives a great performance as Isidore, so if you're not in a hurry, this is a good way to spend 90 minutes.

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