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Le lit à colonnes (1942)

On the banks of a peaceful river,towers up a jail .The prison governor is making rough all over for everyone :the inmates,the wardens and even his family ;it's just a mask : this man is ... See full summary »

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(adaptation), (dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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...
Porey-Cave
...
Aline
Odette Joyeux ...
Marie-Dorée
...
Rémi Bonvent
Jean Tissier ...
Jacquot
...
Dix-Doigts
Mila Parély ...
Yada
...
Olivier de Verrières
Emmy Lynn ...
La comtesse de Verrières
Valentine Tessier ...
Madame Porey-Cave
Jacqueline Champi ...
Marguerite de Verrières
Huguette Donga ...
Elise
Georges Cadix ...
Le petit Maurice
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Storyline

On the banks of a peaceful river,towers up a jail .The prison governor is making rough all over for everyone :the inmates,the wardens and even his family ;it's just a mask : this man is longing for love .In a cell ,a prisoner,Rémi Bonvent, sings ; the harsh man realizes that this captive has talent going for him,he writes songs,pieces of music and even an opera ,"Le lit A Colonnes" (=the fourposter bed).His daughter ,who is also the musician's muse ,-though they never met ,he only sees her silhouette at night-is dreaming of an union with aristocratic families who do not invite her to their fetes or their balls.And the inmate's work may mean glory and success.. Written by dbdumonteil

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based on novel | See All (1) »

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Drama

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Release Date:

7 February 1947 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Ristikon sävel  »

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1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Cinderella will not go to the ball.
13 February 2017 | by See all my reviews

This is the first of the two movies Roland Tual made in the dark hours of the occupation .

A peaceful little river flows in a quiet nature where two ladies with sunshades go strolling.But on the banks,towers up a jail .The prison governor is making rough all over for everyone :the inmates,the wardens and even his family ;it's just a mask : this man (Fernand Ledoux ) is longing for love .In a cell ,a prisoner,Rémi Bonvent, (Jean Marais)sings :first it infuriates the hard man ;but he realizes that this captive has talent going for him,he writes songs,pieces of music and even an opera ,"Le lit A Colonnes" (=the fourposter bed).His daughter (Odette Joyeux) ,who is also the musician's muse ,-though they never met ,he only sees her silhouette at night-is dreaming of an union with aristocratic families who do not invite her to their fetes or their balls.And the inmate's work may mean glory and success....

Contemporary left critics pan the movie,in their Marxist view of the situation:if a commoner ingenue wants to marry a handsome noble officer, young peasants' blood must be shed ,and keep on dancing,Belles Dames!And they set Claude Autant-Lara 's masterful "Douce" (with the same female lead)against this reactionary trash .

Historian Jean Tulard wrote that the director had problems with the German censorship ,as far as his depiction of prison life was concerned .

In fact, "Lit A Colonnes" is an ambiguous work: needless to say,the viewer sides with Rémi Bonvent ,the unfortunate prisoner who got a twenty-year sentence for -accidentally- killing a game keeper while poaching .Travers blamed Marais 'acting,dismissing it as theatrical ,but the great actor could not handle this part any other way.Rémi is a tragic character :a peasant ,he has lost everything ,including his parents' farm (his fiancée ,Aline(Michèle Alfa) has bought it back but the young guy's future is bleak -"I'm here for 18 years "-

Unlike Travers ,I found Marais's performance as a disheveled desperate inmate absolutely outstanding :his androgynous beauty works wonders:you should see his face lightens when the prison governor allows him to work in the church and to play the great organ ;in its last part,the movie turns into a fairy tale where a witch cast a spell : but it's Cinderella in reverse ,not what the 1942 audience might have expected .

And I do not think that the screenwriter (Charles Spaak ,who was anything but reactionary) sides with the dancers who keep on waltzing ,after the bride's unscrupulous dad took from the poor boy everything he could steal.There won't be any scandal,for the good dad was killed by the "villain" .

The subject of the impostor -who steals a novel,a scientific discovery, an opera- has often been treated in the cinema,and is still relevant today ;the action takes place circa 1880 ,but it's not really an escapist movie: bitter irony for half of the scenes are inside the walls of a jail.

At the time ,Jean Marais was married to Mila Parely (who plays Ledoux's mistress);their union was short-lived ,but the actress teamed up again with her ex-husband in Cocteau-Clément's "La Belle Et La Bête " (the part of one of the Belle's sisters 'Felicie). George Marchal,who is cast as the aristocratic officer, was to become a big star in the forties ,before finding his best roles in Bunuel 's films in the late fifties.

Roland Tual's follow-up to this rather gloomy effort was "Bonsoir Mesdames ,Bonsoir Messieurs ",a pleasant look at the radio days.

You should see this movie if you are interested in the French cinema of the occupation ; a sensational actor (Marais) and excellent support by Larquey,Ledoux,Tissier...But Tual was a beginner and a seasoned director was needed.


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