Unlike the precedent user,I will not speak of the political background but of Christian-Jaque's intentions.It was obviously intended to match the brilliance of his former work "les disparus de Saint-Agil" (1938),the script of which having been written by Pierre Very too from his two novels.In both works two worlds coexist:the adults on one side,the children on the other."Les disparus de Saint-Agil",which was a small miracle in itself succeeded in perfectly blending the two worlds .In "l'assassinat du père noel' the two sides do not hang very well,the "grown-ups " and the "brats " plots go their separate ways and only a tenuous line desperately tries to connect them:Baur's daughter,dreaming of fair knights and Princes Charming of fairy tales ,an adult who's still a child.
The best is the atmosphere:the village surrounded by snow,where they gather for the feast of Xmas ,wrapped in mystery:a strange woman,searching for her cat-she will be searching for almost the entire film- ,a handsome baron who hides one of his hands in a glove (leprosy?),an anticlerical schoolteacher (almost a pleonasm in those years),a shady chemist ,and the gendarmes who cannot ,until the very end reach the isolated place where a Santa Claus has been killed.Besides ,a bedridden child is eagerly waiting for his father Xmas.
The movie is mainly worthwhile for its atmosphere;the detective plot is disappointing;the solution is given in about 2 minutes and it's very trite.Some of the yuletide charms are preserved though,and the last pictures finally connects the two stories ,albeit a bit artificially.
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