A man and a woman arrive in a cafe-hotel near the Belgian frontier. The customers recognize the man from the police description. His name is Amedee Lange, and he murdered Batala in Paris. ...
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A man and a woman arrive in a cafe-hotel near the Belgian frontier. The customers recognize the man from the police description. His name is Amedee Lange, and he murdered Batala in Paris. His ladyfriend Valentine tells the whole story: Lange was an employee in Batala's little printing works. Batala was a real bastard, swindling everyone, seducing female workers of Valentine's laundry - One day, he fled to avoid facing his creditors, and the workers set up a cooperative to go on working. But the plot is less important that the description of the atmosphere just before the Popular Front.Written by
According to film scholar Alexander Sesonske, the Catalan painter Jean Castanier (also spelled "Castanier") approached his friend Jacques Becker with the idea of a film about "a likable little world of print-shop workers and laundresses who form a cooperative" to be called Sur la Cour, which Becker would direct. Becker was much taken by the idea, but the producer who took on the project didn't trust him, and decided to offer it to the more experienced director Jean Renoir, for whom Becker had already worked as assistant director on several pictures. Becker was reportedly so furious at Renoir for directing "his" film that he refused to work as assistant director on the production, though he would later work again as Renoir's assistant on several films (e.g. La Grande Illusion (1937)), before becoming a full-time director himself. See more »
Most of the film is in flashback and as soon as this gets under way the film seems to move at such a pace I had trouble keeping up and along the way it only gradually dawned on me it was a comedy. So, once I had sorted that out and got used to the bold and challenging edits and dissolves the film was well under way and I was playing catch up. As has been pointed out by others, looking at this today it would seem that more time than necessary is given to convincing that the old boss is bad and that it would have been good to spend more time with the good times. However, we have to allow for the fact this is almost 80 years old and those early audiences would have needed that time to be fully convinced so that the ending could be accepted. Interesting, bold, amusing and entertaining with plenty of fulsome performances.
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