Frédéri is a very handsome young man in love with a girl he met once in Arles (we will never know her name :she is always referred to as "l'Arlésienne" ).But a man comes to the Mas (farm in Provence)to warn the family:"beware of that runaround girl ,she is a hussy and your boy should stay away from her!" Frederi cannot get over it;in spite of the love of a good girl,Vivette,and of love and affection from a dedicated family,he'll be in despair during the whole movie and meet a tragic end.Written by
A magnificent restoration of a forgotten gem by Marc Allégret .Based on a short story (and mostly the play based on it),with Bizet's music from the comic opera which greatly enhances the pictures ,particularly during the Farandole scene.
The world "Arlésienne" has become a common noun in French,when you speak of someone who never appears ,who might be sheer imagination ;actually she does not appear in the short story and has only a few seconds appearance in the movie.
Frédéri (Jan in Daudet's work) is a very handsome young man (ideally played by Louis Jourdan)in love with a girl he met once in Arles (we will never know her name :she is always referred to as "l'Arlésienne" ).But a man comes to the mas (farm in Provence)to warn the family:beware of that runaround gal,she is a hussy and your boy should stay away from her! Frederi was never able to get over it;in spite of the love of a good girl,Vivette,and of love and affection from a dedicated family,he'll be in despair during the whole movie and meet a tragic end.
The screenplay integrates elements from other short stories by Daudet:"La Chèvre De Monsieur Seguin" is told a young half-wit (Frederi's kid brother) by an old shepherd ;this old man remembers his youth,when he too experimented tragedy when he fell in love with the farmer's daughter (hint about the "Les Etoiles " story).
Raimu is prodigious as always ;the short scene in which a farm girl tries to seduce Frédéri is entirely seen on his face and it works;the actor's incredible tenderness works wonders.Gaby Morlay is wonderful as the mother everybody would like to have .Louis Jourdan -who was not just a pretty face ,as his compatriots often say- gives a tormented portrayal of a young man who is still a child in his heart.However,neither Jourdan nor Morlay have the Provençal accent ,although the actress makes laudable attempts,but this is minor quibble.
Allégret is also,although the story was written in the 19th century ,thoroughly on the same wavelength as the Government of Vichy 's moral: don't marry a bad girl,who won't be a good mother like yours,stay away from the sin city ;if you can't relate to this,death is the only way out of it...
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