7.3/10
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La petite Lise (1930)

Victor Berthier, a good man but also a very jealous one, killed his wife in a fit of jealousy. After serving a few years in a chain gang, he is released for good behavior. He feels very ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Victor Berthier
Joe Alex ... Le danseur noir
... Un client de Lise
... André
... Un joueur de billard
Lucien Hector ... Un bagnard
Alexandre Mihalesco ... L'usurier
... M. Bazet
Nadia Sibirskaïa ... Lise Berthier
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Storyline

Victor Berthier, a good man but also a very jealous one, killed his wife in a fit of jealousy. After serving a few years in a chain gang, he is released for good behavior. He feels very happy to be able to return to Paris and to meet Lise, his daughter, again. But, to his dismay, he finds that Lise, through the fault of André, her lover and pimp, has unwillingly committed a murder. Written by Guy Bellinger

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Drama

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5 December 1930 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Mala Liza  »

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(RCA Photophone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Featured in Mauvais Sang (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jean Valjean comes alive.
22 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

This is the strangest film Gremillon made .Its soundtrack is absolutely bewildering:during the cast and credits ,some kind of "exotic" song is heard the words of which are difficult to understand ,even for a French.Two lines come back as a sinister leitmotiv (Il Voulait Une Femme et Il Vola =He wanted a woman and he stole);then in the horrifying penal colony of Cayenne ,at night,the convicts break into a "Ferme Tes Yeux Bleus =Close your blue eyes";the ending ,which is one of the saddest ,the most depressing I know features a South American like black musicians orchestra.

A convict comes back to his dear France and to his dear daughter,"La Petite Lise" to be confronted with tragedy.When he was away ,Lise became a prostitute (the word is never uttered),but is about to redeem her soul thanks to her boyfriend' s heartfelt love.But they need 3000 Francs to buy a garage in the country and to start a brand new life (sounds like the words to an Edith Piaf song;actually the whole films sounds like a Piaf song even if the chanteuse was about 16 when it was made) The two young actors's playing seems old-fashioned today ,and only Alcover's performance can touch today's audience.But he is deeply moving as a father who gave it all and did it again .But if you were a father ,wouldn't you do the same?

An objection remains: the way the script writers depict the Jew is ,par excellence ,the cliché:of course,he is a pawnbroker,stingy,deceitful,unkind ,spineless.This is not the only movie where the Jews are demeaned.

"La Petite Lise" is Gremillon's third feature film after "Maldone" and "Gardiens De Phare" (where a lighthouse keeper ,bitten by a rabid dog,threatens his father who kills him:Pasteur,where were you?)


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