During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.
Strolling indolently around the 1830s vibrant Parisian avenue called the Boulevard du Crime, the graceful and elusive courtesan, Garance, finds herself wrongfully accused of pickpocketing. But, amid a sea of jugglers, sideshow performers, streetwalkers, and crooks, the silently eloquent mime, Baptiste, comes to her rescue, only to hopelessly fall for her. And just like that, love's sweet torture befalls the delicate pantomimist, as the insufferable burden of knowing that the object of his desire can never belong to anyone, will heartlessly haunt him for years to come. Many have tried to seize her heart--the flamboyant thespian, Frédérick Lemaître; the criminal dandy, Pierre-François Lacenaire, and the imperious but loveless Count, Édouard de Montray--however, Garance, after so many barren years, now seems to need only one man. In the end, trusting a frail and modest rose is beautiful but cruel. Is there anyone who can accept the naked truth of an unrequited love?Written by
When Italy fell to the Nazis, the Italian co-producers left the project, causing a financial vacuum. See more »
In the outdoor market scene, the amount of food laid out on the tables varies from shot to shot. The reason is that the extras were famished from years of wartime food rationing, and stole food whenever they were not closely watched. See more »
Other than homosexual marriage, we have a taste of everything here: unrequited love, murder, jealousy and truth spoken. It is difficult toget angry at any of the lovers, since they speak so truthfully to one another.
The murderer himself is to be admired, since he can't admit to himself his love for Garance but winds up removing the wicked rich 'owner' of Garance. How was this allowed to be made under the Nazi occupation? I can only guess that the connections between freedom and despotism that are easily made by today's viewer would be more difficult then. Obviously, it is everyone's love for the theater, both mime, actor and writer, that is honored here. (The murderer prided himself on his writing skill.)
The screenplay is excellent, dialogue inspired, and there is little of the duplicity you usually see today in such movies. Garance, unable to love due to her own background as sex object, speaks tenderly to all and refuses to lie. With one exception: she agrees to speak to all of Paris of her love for the count, so long as HE knows she does not love him.
Thought done skillfully, it is an old story of "he loves her, she doesn't love him, she loves another, he doesn't love her back but only toys with her". If ever I saw a great example of why you must play "Hard to get" when playing the game of love, it's this one. Take your teen age children to see this, and point out how the non-availability of Garance and Baptiste, as well, whet the appetites of the others. watching my grandson's affection toyed with by a young girl just playing with love-- when he was smitten and straight with his feelings broke my heart, and I tried to explain to him what the game is at the age of 15. This movie pretty well exemplifies the situation.
The interweaving of 'Othello' with the lovers' stories, the murder of the old clothes man on the stage with the real old-clothes man complaining about his protrayal, are illustrations of life imitating art and vice-versa. The acting is magnificent....the crowd scenes superbly done for 1945. What a great film!!!!
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