11 user 22 critic

César (1936)

Not Rated | | Drama | 27 October 1948 (USA)
Honoré Panisse is dying, cheerfully, with friends, wife, and son at his side. He confesses to the priest in front of his friends; he insists that the doctor be truthful. But, he cannot ... See full summary »


Marcel Pagnol


Marcel Pagnol




Cast overview, first billed only:
Raimu ... César Ollivier
Pierre Fresnay ... Marius Ollivier
Fernand Charpin ... Honoré Panisse (as Charpin)
Orane Demazis ... Fanny
Paul Dullac Paul Dullac ... Félix Escartefigue
Robert Vattier ... Aldebert Brun
Marcel Maupi Marcel Maupi ... Innocent Mangiapan (as Maupi)
Édouard Delmont Édouard Delmont ... Le docteur Felicien Venelle (as Delmont)
Milly Mathis Milly Mathis ... Tante Claudine Foulon
Thommeray Thommeray ... Elzéar Bonnegrâce - le curé de Saint Victor
Jean Castan Jean Castan ... L'enfant de choeur
Robert Bassac Robert Bassac ... Pierre Dromard
Alida Rouffe Alida Rouffe ... Honorine Cabanis
Rellys ... L'employé de Panisse
Charblay Charblay ... Henri - le patron du bar de Toulon


Honoré Panisse is dying, cheerfully, with friends, wife, and son at his side. He confesses to the priest in front of his friends; he insists that the doctor be truthful. But, he cannot bring himself to tell his son Cesariot that his real father is Marius, the absent son of César, Cesariot's godfather. Panisse leaves that to Fanny, the lad's mother. Dissembling that he's off to see a friend, Cesariot then seeks Marius, now a mechanic in Toulon. Posing as a journalist, Cesariot spends time with Marius and leaves believing tales he is a petty thief. Only after the truth comes out can Marius, Fanny, César, and Cesariot step beyond the falsehoods, benign though they may be. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated

Did You Know?


This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #884. See more »


Elzéar Bonnegrâce - le curé de Saint Victor: You must be knee-deep in sins.
See more »


Remade as Fanny (1961) See more »

User Reviews

Love and humanity
20 April 2020 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

All the three films in Marcel Pagnol's Marseille trilogy ('Marius', 'Fanny' and 'Cesar') are well worth watching, personally would go as far as calling them must sees. All three are wonderful in their own way, though all the great things about the trilogy and what makes it special are present in each film. To me, they are important films in regard to French cinema and early talkie film-making and are a few of the finest examples of somebody with theatrical origins moving into film and became important.

'Cesar', the only one of the Marseille trilogy to not be directly based on the play, is the third and final film in the trilogy and a great way to end it. It is not quite as good as my personal favourite 'Marius', but is on the same level as 'Fanny' for generally the same reasons. Despite having occasional story problems, 'Cesar' (named after one of my favourite characters of the trilogy) is the most human, most understated and most moving of the three perhaps and benefits greatly from having Pagnol in the director's chair again and the original cast returning yet again.

It though does have the slightest story of the three films in the trilogy and the only one to feel slightly contrived on occasions. That is my only complaint though.

Like 'Marius' and 'Fanny', 'Cesar' looks lovely and surprisingly evocative. In fact all the great things of those two films are here, for the same and different reasons. Scotto returns as composer and his score is equally as whimsical and charming. Did appreciate that 'Cesar' did have a much better beginning than that of 'Fanny' and that it got to the point much quicker.

There is some nice wit in the writing, the dialogue can be described in the same way as the dialogue in the previous two films. It succeeds in the humorous elements and even more so the emotional moments, balancing both well while having more of the latter. Did love how understated and compassionate the story was.

Which added to the poignancy and humanity of one of the most easy to root for love stories in early talkies. The characters are still compellingly real and their situations are still relatable and relevant now, did find that what happens resonated with me. Pagnol's direction is never too static or theatrical, he stays true to his roots while opening up the drama enough so it does feel cinematic.

Fanny is slightly underdeveloped again, but again that is namely down to the deeper characterisations of the other characters. Especially Cesar. The acting is great again, especially Raimu giving perhaps his best performance of the trilogy and he was astounding in 'Marius' and 'Fanny' as well.

Concluding, great and a more than worthy end to a wonderful trilogy of films. 9/10

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Release Date:

27 October 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cezar See more »

Filming Locations:

Les Lecques, Gard, France See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,720, 8 January 2017

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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