Albert Durandal is unable to keep a job for more than a few days. The reason: he hums while working, which invariably irritates his superiors. He is not hired as a singer for all that, as ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Josette Contandin ...
Josette (as Josette Fernandel)
Lucien Rozenberg ...
Le baron Samuel Rothenmeyer
...
Lucien
Nicolas Amato ...
Le chanteur des rues (as Amato)
Robert Seller ...
Émile - le valet du baron (as Seller)
Jacqueline Prévot ...
Jeanne - la maman de Josette (as Jacqueline Prévôt)
Robert Arnoux ...
Rémy Doré
Mona Goya ...
La chanteuse Viviane Eros
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Storyline

Albert Durandal is unable to keep a job for more than a few days. The reason: he hums while working, which invariably irritates his superiors. He is not hired as a singer for all that, as no music producer is prepared to bet on him. At the moment he is as free as a (singing) bird and accepts to take care of Josette, the little daughter of Jeanne, his neighbor, who is sick and has to go to a sanitarium. One day, while walking down the street, he helps an old man who has an attack. The latter happens to be an influential millionaire. And with a heart of gold into the bargain : he helps Albert to make it in the singing career. And as Jeanne has recovered, he can marry her and adopt Josette. Written by Guy Bellinger

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22 January 1937 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Garota de Fernandel  »

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1.37 : 1
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Josette Contandin is Fernandel's oldest daughter. See more »

Soundtracks

C'est la fête à tante Aurore
Music by Vincent Scotto
Lyrics by Jean Manse and 'Paul Fekete'
Performed by Fernandel and Josette Contandin
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Fernandel and his charming daughter
25 June 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This French comedy film must not be confused with an American film made the following year with Don Ameche, JOSETTE (1938), with which it has no connection whatever. This delightful film has never been given English subtitles, and is available only in French, in France. Fernandel was a truly delightful French comic actor, a self-deprecating personality with huge teeth and a horsey grin. He was immensely popular, and deserved to be. In this film, in which he stars, his ten year-old daughter Josette appears, and plays a little girl called by the same name, Josette. This is the only film in which she appeared as an actress. Although she is credited as Josette Fernandel, her real name was Josette Contandin, since that was her father's real surname (his first name being Fernand). It is a great pity that she did not make more films as a child. The French do not seem ever to have been responsive to 'cute kids' in films, whereas the British and the Americans have always loved them. If Josette Contandin had been in the English-speaking world, she would probably have gone on to make many films and become immensely popular as a child star. But the querulous French, who are always complaining about each other, criticised her so much that she never acted again. Their loss! I am very partial to people like Fernandel who come from Marseilles, with their wonderful broad accents which are so opposite to the preciosity of the Paris way of speaking. That is why I love the films of Marcel Pagnol, and so many of his actors, who came from that world of the French South. Those people all have the openness and direct nature of people who prize their lack of sophistication and do not want to become 'smart' or chic. It is a more honest mode of being, and wholly lacking in artificiality. I am an enemy of 'the smart sets'. Give me ordinary people any day. And who could be more of a Mr. Ordinary in French terms that Fernandel? It is no accident that Fernandel starred in the Marcel Pagnol films ANGELE (1934), HARVEST (1937), THE WELL-DIGGER'S DAUGHTER (1940), and TOPAZE (1951), not to be confused with the later Alfred Hitchcock spy film of that title, which has no connection with it. Fernandel and Pagnol both represented the same thing, the rough and tumble world of Marseilles, and they were both as authentic as is genuine bouillabaisse, which can only be made properly if it includes the Mediterranean fish rascasse, which is not available in Paris. (For Pagnol, see my reviews of Pagnol's Marseilles trilogy, MARIUS, 1931, FANNY, 1932, and CESAR, 1936.) In this film, Fernandel is sacked from his job and wanders around wondering hopelessly what to do. He has (unofficially) become the guardian of little Josette, because her mother is too ill to look after her. By chance, he helps an old man who turns out to be a rich industrialist, who is called Monsieur le Baron. He takes a fancy to Fernandel and funds his desire to become a singer, which Fernandel does successfully. The film is not exactly original, but it is amusing, entertaining, and charming. It was well directed by the director who called himself by the name of Christian-Jaque, a very well known and much respected pillar of the French cinema, who directed 80 films, many of them well known. Maybe some day this film will be given subtitles and be more widely circulated.


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