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Madame Bovary (1934)

Soon after the death of his first wife (whose dowry was inadequate), Charles Bovary, a country doctor in Normandy, marries Emma Rouault, who is well-endowed in every sense. In her new home,... See full summary »

Director:

Jean Renoir

Writers:

Gustave Flaubert (novel), Jean Renoir
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Max Dearly ... Homais
Valentine Tessier Valentine Tessier ... Emma Bovary
Pierre Renoir ... Charles Bovary
Robert Le Vigan ... Lheureux (as Le Vigan)
Alice Tissot Alice Tissot ... Charles Bovary's mother
Pierre Larquey ... Hippolyte (as Larquey)
Monette Dinay Monette Dinay ... Félicité
Louis Florencie Louis Florencie ... Parish Priest (as Florencie)
Romain Bouquet Romain Bouquet ... Solicitor
Christiane Dor Christiane Dor ... Madame La François
Georges Cahuzac Georges Cahuzac ... Rouault (as Cahuzac)
Héléna Manson Héléna Manson ... Héloïse Bovary (as Hélène Manson)
Léon Larive Léon Larive ... Prefect (as Larive)
Henri Vilbert Henri Vilbert ... Dr. Canivet (as Vilbert)
Allain Dhurtal Allain Dhurtal ... Surgeon
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Storyline

Soon after the death of his first wife (whose dowry was inadequate), Charles Bovary, a country doctor in Normandy, marries Emma Rouault, who is well-endowed in every sense. In her new home, Emma finds conflict with her mother-in-law, a husband uninterested in the social whirl, and general discontentment; thereby proving an easy conquest for philanderer Rodolphe. Other lovers follow. Does tragedy await? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Magnificent and Faithful Screen Adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's Immortal Classic See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

17 November 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La signora Bovary See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Connections

Version of Madame Bovary (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

Dreaming her life away /rude awakening
23 May 2006 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

I used to favor Minnelli's version over Renoir's .Not anymore .The only thing which works better in the American version is the actress.Jennifer Jones is par excellence the romantic heroine ,the passionate dreamer and she's beautiful.Valentine Tessier,Renoir's lead is not attractive at all and I would go as far as to write she makes a nice pair with her unfortunate hubby (Pierre Renoir,excellent).Artistically,Tessier has moments of great acting,notably the scene in front of the church with the priest where she gives a very modern portrayal -she looks as if she 's in search of a shrink-.But physically she cannot be a romantic tragic dreamer.And, most of the time,she seems to be on a stage.

But all that surrounds Tessier is much better than Minelli's too hollywoodian adaptation.Only a French director can feel the atmosphere of a small town of Normandy,only a French director can recreate the moist landscapes of the land of the apple trees,only a French director can recreate an agriculture meeting with its awards: the scene where an old lady is awarded a medal after 54 (!) years of hard labor on the farms (a decoration which she intends to give to the vicar who in turn will celebrate a mass for her) represents all the poverty of the world and time :it's in Flaubert's book and Renoir at this stage of his career -he was at his most anarchist ,see "la Chienne" and "Boudu"- had to include it in his film.

Renoir ,better than Minnelli,understood this hatred Emma felt for the provinces.Born on a farm,she dreamed away her childhood and adolescence.Neither Minnelli,nor Renoir have depicted the wedding and it is a pity : this vulgar country celebration with its rude peasants epitomizes all that Emma despises,she who is still dreaming of a Prince Charming who will take her away.And when the Prince appears (Her lover Rodolphe Boulanger) he will betray her.

The scene of the ball in an aristocratic castle is the pivot of both the novel and the film:afterward ,Emma will never be the same.Had she inherited from some distant relative,she would have been saved .But living shut away in her own small town,in the company of a meek less-than-handsome man and some petit bourgeois such as Homais ,her only hope is to be carried off by her lover....

But her lover ,Rodolphe Boulanger,is a wealthy selfish buck:the scene in the luxury house ,where Emma begs 8,000 Francs is similar in the two versions ,although in that one,Minnelli has the upper hand ,cause his actors (Jones and Louis Jourdan) are more convincing.

Chabrol's work starring Isabelle Huppert is eminently forgettable.


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