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Shop Girls of Paris (1943)

Au bonheur des dames (original title)
Denise Baudu, an orphaned girl in need, decides to go to Paris where her uncle Baudu keeps a small draper's shop, "Le Vieil Elbeuf". The young woman hopes her kinsman will be able to give ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Blanchette Brunoy ...
Suzy Prim ...
Juliette Faber ...
Mademoiselle Vadon
Huguette Vivier ...
Santa Relli ...
Catherine Fonteney ...
Madame Aurélie (as Catherine Fontenay)
Jacqueline Gauthier ...
Pauline Cugnot (as Jacqueline Gautier)
Maximilienne ...
Madame Cabin
Marcelle Rexiane ...
Madame Marly (as Rexiane)
Suzet Maïs ...
Madame de Boves - la kleptomane
André Reybaz ...
Jean Tissier ...
Émile Bourdoncle
Jean Rigaux ...


Denise Baudu, an orphaned girl in need, decides to go to Paris where her uncle Baudu keeps a small draper's shop, "Le Vieil Elbeuf". The young woman hopes her kinsman will be able to give her a position. Unfortunately Octave Mouret, Baudu's visionary competitor, has just opened a giant department store nearby, "Au Bonheur des dames", which now attracts customers like a magnet. Denise, realizing that "Le Vieil Elbeuf" is dying away, crosses the street to offer her services to Octave Mouret... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

paris france | based on novel | See All (2) »







Release Date:

21 June 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shop Girls of Paris  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


French censorship visa # 718 delivered on 20-7-1943. See more »


Referenced in Safe Conduct (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Small shopkeepers against big retailers.
21 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

1.EMILE ZOLA THis Emile Zola novel,the 11th in the Rougon-Maquart saga depicts the misfortunes of the small shopkeepers at the end of the nineteenth century,when giants like the "Au Bonheur des Dames" began to attract most of the (esssentially female )clientele.As far the characters are concerned ,it's one of the weakest Zola ever wrote.But it's an invaluable document of a fashion phenomenon and Zola's depictions of the ancestors of mode supermarkets are preciseness itself,although a bit boring for a modern reader.It's also notable as the last of Zola's optimistic works :after his father's death,its subsequent books would turn black as the follow-up to "au bonheur des dames" ,"la joie de vivre" (in spite of its title!) testified.

2.ANDRE CAYATTE André Cayatte's career is composed of two distinct parts;roughly 1942-1950:literary adaptations:Zola,Maupassant;the best of this first phase was arguably "les amants de Vérone" which certainly influenced François TRuffaut(who despised Cayatte though) for "la nuit américaine" ("day for night").Then from 1950 onwards ,it was the "legal" period:a former lawyer,Cayatte began to champion all the good causes :plenty of miscarriages of justice,plenty of trials ,which made,in a way,Cayatte a forerunner of the current court movies so dear to today's directors.

3.ANDRE CAYATTE AND EMILE ZOLA This movie,although it belongs to Cayatte's first phase,displays elements which will emerge afterwards:the heroine 's plea for an improvement of the exploited sales assistants' situation,and Mouret's-the owner of the "Au Bonheur des Dames" department stores final speech -which reflect Zola's socialist ideas .This predates the future "and justice for all" which will become Cayatte's motto as a director.

4.CHARACTERS AND CAST: As I mentioned above,the characters are not that much interesting in "au bonheur des dames" and their evolution is downright predictable. Of course ,Michel Simon stands out:as the small shopkeeper whom Mouret defeats (David and Goliath),he's as impressive as usual:but his appearances are too few and far between .Apart from Simon,best performance comes from Suzy Prim as a rich unscrupulous woman ,who tries to conquer Mouret.The main love interest(between Mouret and Simon's niece) is bland.

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