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The Sinners (1949)

Au royaume des cieux (original title)
Story takes place in a dreadful girls' reformatory. A couple of lovers will try to escape from this living hell.


Julien Duvivier


Julien Duvivier (screenplay), Julien Duvivier (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Serge Reggiani ... Pierre Massot
Jean Davy Jean Davy ... Le curé Antonin (as Jean Davy Sociétaire de la Comédie Française)
Monique Mélinand Monique Mélinand ... Mademoiselle Guérande
Suzy Prim ... Mademoiselle Chamblas
Christiane Lénier Christiane Lénier ... Dédée la Balafrée (as Christiane Menier)
Suzanne Cloutier ... Maria Lambert (as Anne Saint Jean)
Nadine Basile Nadine Basile ... Gaby 'Facture'
Liliane Maigné Liliane Maigné ... Margot
Colette Deréal Colette Deréal ... Lucienne
Nicole Besnard ... Anna
Liliane Le Roger Liliane Le Roger ... Rosa (as Liliane Leroger)
Renée Cosima Renée Cosima ... Camille
Sylvie Serliac Sylvie Serliac ... Henriette
Ludmilla Hols Ludmilla Hols ... Clarisse (as Ludmila Hols)
Juliette Gréco ... Rachel


Story takes place in a dreadful girls' reformatory. A couple of lovers will try to escape from this living hell.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Never Before! A Film So Daring! So Frank! So Shocking! See more »


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

30 September 1949 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sinners See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Régina, S.I.B.I.S. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film was passed in France with the censorship visa no. 8710, and a running time of 100 minutes - under the corresponding 111 minutes to the length of the director's cut. See more »

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User Reviews

In the kingdom of Heaven,Duvivier reigns!
27 November 2005 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Kingdom of Heaven,what a title for a movie which takes place in a girls' reformatory! It has become difficult to find this Duvivier forgotten gem.It took me years and years of searching before finally laying my hands on a ebay second-hand video tape .Once more,I was stunned:in a career which spans -roughly- the first half of the twentieth century,Duvivier's works almost always appeal and they innovate too:probably influenced by Pabst 's "Tagebuch einer Verlorenen" ,"Au Royaume des cieux" predates such works as " the Magdalene sisters " by half a century!And that's not all:Orson Welles, who was a Duvivier fan ,found his "Othello"'s Desdemona here:Suzanne Cloutier plays an unfortunate girl,in state care,who is unfairly sent to the sinister prison.

Duvivier is the French master of the film noir,only equaled by Henri-Georges Clouzot.Never the Nouvelle Vague produced a single worthwhile film noir .

Duvivier always painted the darker side of the human soul:his world is all wickedness,evil and despair.However in "au Royaume des Cieux" some sunlight does break through.The heroine has a lover (Serge Reggiani) who tries to help her escape from this living hell.A tutor (Monique Melinand) shows some compassion.And the priest does too.But what can they do when a head warden(Suzy Prim) finally sees her dreams come true when the former one -a sensitive good old lady- dies and makes way for her.Suzy Prim portrays a shrew who hates men,probably repressed sexually -a scene between her and Cloutier reaches peaks of hatred and violence- who sadistically treats her girls.And let us not forget the dog's name Goliath (sic).In Duvivier's works justice is often meted out by one of these gentle animals: see also "Voici le Temps des Assassin" and "Chair de Poule"

Remarkable scenes: the hunger strike ,which the infamous Prim tries to break by bringing them a delicious soup (Duvivier's camera masterfully shows the hungry faces ,then the steaming pot);the prisoners turning around the anarchist's dead body (Juliette Greco!);the desolate landscapes the Police car which takes the heroine to the prison crosses;the impending flood which will become a transparent metaphor of the fever which rises behind the reformatory walls.The two estranged lovers ,whose dreams concur beyond a prison's walls.And the last picture which beats Truffaut's "les quatre cent coups" at its own game .

Perhaps an optimistic world ,which is unusual in Duvivier's work,since all these lost girls discover,through their mate's true love that ,they can hope against hope.

The cast and credits :the soundtrack consists of bells ringing louder and louder:MM Duvivier and Jeanson,hats off!

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