Hit and miss best describes L'Herbier's career in the thirties and forties ;"L'Aventurier" is definitely a hit,one of his most successful works of the era.
Victor Francen,probably the director's favorite actor was miscast:he is too old for the part of a dashing raider (46),particularly if you compare him to his mean cousin,his rival ,who is still a young man;his bombastic delivery may seem old-fashioned to today's audience but the thespian retains charisma and a good sense of humor -he does not take things seriously,which makes up for the melodramatic effects.
A shady raider ,who made it big in Africa -he sold mines and was responsible for the death of many natives - comes back to his family's town where he is not the welcome;those posh bourgeois people are afraid of the scandal their black sheep may spark off ;besides their factories are having problems and their workers launch a strike.But they soon change their mind when they learn that the prodigal relative is immensely rich.
Our hero ,against all odds ,will show himself worthy of his family ,and even much more than this bunch of mean bourgeois ,prisoners of their conventional reactionary world where the biggest thing you can expect from life is to be an officer of the Legion D'Honneur (still a topical subject!)
The outspoken nephew is cynical to a fault:not only he "knows the man who had his henchmen kill the black men in Africa,but he is the man himself!"He is what we could call a right-winger anarchist:see for instance the way he changes the workers' mind for his.
Supporting cast includes gorgeous Gisèle Casadesus who became more famous when she was an old lady and ,which is cause for celebration,a young Jean Marais (spelled Maray) as one of the rebellious working men
Like this ?try these.....
"Un Revenant " ,Christian-Jaque,1946
"Les Affaires Sont Les Affaires " Jean Dréville,1942
"Les Grandes Familles " Denys De La Patelière,1958
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