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Au bonheur des dames (1930)

Denise, an orphaned girl, moves to Paris where she hopes to find work at her uncle's store. But the glamorous department store 'Aux Bonheur des Dames' across the street crunches all the little businesses around. She finds a position there.


Julien Duvivier


Noël Renard (adaptation), Émile Zola (novel)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Dita Parlo ... Denise Baudu
Ginette Maddie ... Clara
Andrée Brabant ... Pauline
Mireille Barsac Mireille Barsac ... Madame Aurélie (as Madame Barsac)
Nadia Sibirskaïa Nadia Sibirskaïa ... Geneviève Baudu
Germaine Rouer Germaine Rouer ... Madame Desforges
Simone Bourday Simone Bourday
Cognet Cognet
Colette Dubois Colette Dubois
Récopé Récopé
Yvonne Taponié Yvonne Taponié
Marthe Barbara-Val Marthe Barbara-Val ... (as Barbara Val)
Marcelle Adam Marcelle Adam
Pierre de Guingand ... Octave Mouret
Fabien Haziza Fabien Haziza ... Colomban


Denise, an orphaned girl, moves to Paris where she hopes to find work at her uncle's store. But the glamorous department store 'Aux Bonheur des Dames' across the street crunches all the little businesses around. She finds a position there.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Did You Know?


(at around 37 mins) During the "demolition" montage, a bus passes in front of two men arguing and the camera tripod is reflected on the side of the bus. See more »

Crazy Credits

All actresses in order of importance are listed before all the actors (also in order of importance) See more »


Version of Shop Girls of Paris (1943) See more »

User Reviews

Duvivier:a long-term task.
13 July 2006 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

This silent version of Zola's classic was impossible to see for a long time.Zola's heirs (concerning a novel from the 19Th century) were suing Duvivier's (video cassettes and DVDs) producer René Château ,reportedly.That may account for the disappearance of such other great Duvivier movies as "la fête à Henriette" or "Au Royaume des Cieux" (the latter was available on cassette a long time ago).

In the Rougon-Macquart saga ,"Au Bonheur des Dames" is far from being one of my favorites.The depictions are impressive,but the story is melodramatic ,particularly the ending .Duvivier has transposed the action to his time ,the early thirties.It's not a big problem,since the director introduces ,in the first sequences ,sandwich men and advertising leaflets coming down from the sky.And the neons as well.

That said,"Au Bonheur des Dames" displays a director who hadn't found himself yet.As every French cine buff knows,Duvivier was the film noir master,the poet of evil.He was also a past master when it came to depicting a place ,the Halles de Paris or Bastille Day.Actually,the true Duvivier would appear in his next effort "David Golder" (1931)

Best sequences: Genevieve 's fiancé ,telling the old shopkeeper Baudu how seedy his place is :the cobwebs ,the old furniture and the dilapidated walls speak louder than words;Baudu ,becoming mad as he hears the noises of the walls falling down; A giant worker with a pick destroying everything;and finally Denise's face ,in the last sequences ,who tends to to show that far from being an ingenue,she is a potential business woman and the story does not tell if she will show compassion for people who fall by the wayside.

Mouret's fête by the river will become a Duvivier's permanent feature too.Even at his nastiest,at his darkest,there will always be a cause for celebration: the Guinguettes in "La Belle Equipe" and "Voici le Temps des Assassins" ,the ball in "la fête à Henriette" or the fair in "Boulevard" .

But Duvivier was still searching for an identity at the time and there are weaknesses in his film:the relationship Denis/Mouret is as bland as that in Cayatte's talkie (1943).Blame it on the actor,Pierre de Guingand ,because Dita Parlo's talent is incontestable.Ditto for Armand Bour whose performance would be dwarfed by Michel Simon's (who else?)a decade later.

I will not make ,anyway,any comparison between the silent and the talkie.Today's audience will fatally favor the latter over the former. Every cine buff has got to see both and make up his mind.

NB.In Zola's saga ,"Au Bonheur des Dames" is the follow -up to "Pot-Bouille" (Octave Mouret is featured in both books).In 1957,Duvivier transferred to the screen that book,with only fair results .The movie was slagged off by Truffaut who (for once) was not wrong.Gerard Philippe was cast as Mouret.

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None | French

Release Date:

3 July 1930 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A hölgyek öröme See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Le Film d'Art See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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