Gerard Blain had one of the saddest career of the French cinema.After three important movies ("Voici Le Temps Des Assassins" "Le beau Serge" and " Les Cousins" ) he quickly fell into oblivion whereas his co-star in the two Chabrol movies,Jean-Claude Brialy remained popular.His other notable part is in Wenders ' 'Der Americanische Freund" .He also became a director ,one of his works, " Un Infant Dans La Foule" ,remains one of the great forgotten movies of the French seventies.
"La Fortune De Gaspard" is based on the Comtesse de Segur's novel ,which,unlike this estimable lady's other books ,is not exactly a "book for children" .Blain (only directing) perfectly captured what was subconscious in the story.
A peasant boy wants to make his way of life:he is a brilliant pupil at school and he despises his family .The country's tycoon -a stingy old man with a heart of stone-,Mister Fereor (=iron and gold!what a name!) hires him in his factory.The boy is very clever;instead of inventing new manufacturing processes ,he contents himself with stealing the others'ideas .He pushes the people out of his way by denouncing them when they make a mistake.Little by little,he conquers the old man's heart .Their relationship is best described as a platonic gay relationship:when the boy must marry (because of unfair competition)the nasty red-haired German's daughter,the unfortunate bride is exiled in a bedroom ,far from the two men's apartments .
The Comtesse De Segur was going too far !It was time for her to edify her readers.So the daughter ,Mina,will play,relatively speaking ,the role of Maria in "Metropolis".
Blain's directing is icily impersonal;his Gaspard is not really handsome ,face hidden under a beard,he is despising,smug and not nice at all.His adaptation of the book is excellent and much better than those of his ex-co-star Brialy who also tackled Segur ("Les Malheurs de Sophie" "Un Bon Petit Petit Diable" ).
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