6.9/10
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Beating Heart (1940)

Battement de coeur (original title)
Danielle Darrieux plays an impoverished reform-school escapee who finds a new lease on life when she enrolls in a school for pickpockets run by Fagin-like Saturnin-Fabre.

Director:

Henri Decoin

Writers:

Michel Duran (dialogue), Max Kolpé (screenplay) (as Max Colpet) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Danielle Darrieux ... Arlette
Claude Dauphin ... Pierre de Rougemont
André Luguet ... Le comte d'Argay - l'ambassadeur
Junie Astor ... La comtesse Florence d'Argay - l'ambassadrice
Charles Dechamps ... Le baron Dvorak
Roger Blin Roger Blin ... (credit only)
Sylvain Itkine Sylvain Itkine ... Le premier voleur
Pierre Feuillère Pierre Feuillère ... Le second voleur
Jean Hébey Jean Hébey ... Ponthus
Julien Carette ... Yves Calubert (as Carette)
Jean Tissier Jean Tissier ... Roland Médeville
Saturnin Fabre ... Monsieur Aristide
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Storyline

Danielle Darrieux plays an impoverished reform-school escapee who finds a new lease on life when she enrolls in a school for pickpockets run by Fagin-like Saturnin-Fabre.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

1 February 1940 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Herzklopfen See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ciné-Alliance See more »
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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Did You Know?

Quotes

[last lines]
Pierre de Rougemont: Are you happy now?
Arlette: Very.
Pierre de Rougemont: Then why aren't you crying?
Arlette: I am. Look.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in La joie de vivre: Henri Decoin (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Au Vent Léger
Music by Paul Misraki
Lyrics by Paul Misraki
Performed by Danielle Darrieux
See more »

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User Reviews

Battement de Coeur
30 December 2006 | by dreverativySee all my reviews

I wonder whether the idea of a school of pickpockets was an inspiration for Robert Hamer's 1958 "School for Scoundrels". In any event this is a very funny, touching, stylish, lightweight piece of entertainment. It's a shame that it isn't better known in English-speaking countries.

This is definitely a (vanity?) vehicle for the excellent and evergreen Danielle Darrieux, provided by her husband, director Henri Decoin (I suppose in the manner of Anna Neagle and Herbert Willcox). Their marriage was dissolved in 1941, but the preceding six years of her career (they married in 1935) were among her most productive and rewarding. How many actresses alive today were at the peak of their careers before World War II?

This is a retelling of the Cinderella story, with the young diplomat, Pierre de Rougemont (Claude Dauphin, a polished and patient sophisticate) in the role of the prince. Saturnin Fahre (excellent here, as in "Pepe le Moko" and many other films) is a rather more benign version of the wicked stepmother. Indeed, he seems a fairly tolerant and genial crime-master.

It is hard to summarise a film that is essentially about dresses, rocks and glances. There are certainly a number of brilliant set-pieces (notably in the 'schoolroom' and at the embassy ball), but this is really a film about charm, very witty dialogue (thanks to Jean Willeme and Max Colpet) and high production values. A typical, workaday film of the 1930s - therefore far superior to most of what is produced today. It is astonishing to think that this world of whirls and romances was on the cusp of being crushed.


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