This movie was shown in the theaters with a "new " cast and credits during the occupation days:all the Jewish names were masked ;the restored copy provides the two cast and credits one after the other ,beginning with the infamous one.
It's a melodrama which,although it was made before Vichy ,tends to show that work is to be taken over love affairs ,and that women (here represented by a young Madeleine Robinson )are evil ,except when they are mothers :the Melée boy (Bernard Blier),under an over possessive mother's thumb ,will perhaps be the only one to find happiness in the marriage ;but the price to pay is high:he wanted to work in an office ,but his mum did want him to become a miner ("you shall be a miner ,like your father and grandfather were,it's like a dynasty!").
The story takes place in a mining village ,where life is very hard ,where man never sees the sun (alternate title is "men without sun" )where heightened passions (because of the danger which never leaves the miners)lead to violence (Pierre Brasseur) ,selfishness and cowardice (Lucien Gallas as Tony who works in the office) and to a desperate resignation (Aimos).
Based on a play written by actor Pierre Brasseur,it's a pessimistic work,tinged with misogyny .Madeleine Robinson plays the part of the adulteress ,she looks more like Simone Signoret than Viviane Romance,the specialist of this kind of role in the French cinema.
Like this? Try these.....
"La Maison Sous La Mer" (Calef,1946)
"Germinal" (Yves Allégret ,1962, Claude Berri, 1993 and reportedly the best version of Zola's classic :Capellani's in 1913,in spite of an ending which betrays the writer and predates that of "Metropolis" (1926)
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