Long before the Nouvelle Vague,there were directors who tried to take the French cinema out of the studio;Louis Daquin was one of them.His movie,adapted from a famous Roger Frison-Roche novel,was filmed on location,with real mountaineers,without any special effects (that's what the cast and credit tells us).The landscapes are really splendid and are the main asset of the movie.
It was an escapist movie.The correct year was actually 1943.In its own way ,this film reflects the Occupation days zeitgeist.In his precedent work,"le Voyageur de la Toussaint" ,Daquin had already condemned all that weakened the family."1er de cordée" is ,in its own way, more of the same.The family could be in jeopardy because of the son/father antagonism -he wants to be a guide but his father is not prepared to accept it and urges him to become a hotelier,but the ending is
the triumph of the Family with a capital F.A family where men are the heroes:theirs is the struggle against a hostile nature.A woman's role is to wait and to take care of the house.The young guy tells his fiancée so: "your place is near my mother,she needs you,etc" .This is a thoroughly "sane " movie: there's no love scene ,which is quite a feat,even at the time.It's an open invitation to outdo yourself ,provided you're a man.
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