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La Poison (1951)

La poison (original title)
Through a series of circumstances and plot twists an enterprising man manages to get away with murdering his wife, even though he cheerfully admits his guilt in court.

Director:

Sacha Guitry

Writer:

Sacha Guitry
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michel Simon ... Paul Louis Victor Braconnier
Jean Debucourt ... Maître Aubanel
Jacques Varennes Jacques Varennes ... Le procureur
Jeanne Fusier-Gir Jeanne Fusier-Gir ... La fleuriste
Germaine Reuver Germaine Reuver ... Blandine Braconnier (as Madame Reuver)
Pauline Carton ... La mercière
Albert Duvaleix Albert Duvaleix ... L'abbé Méthivier (as Duvaleix)
Henry Laverne Henry Laverne ... Le président
Jacques de Féraudy Jacques de Féraudy ... Jean Brun
Jacques Derives Jacques Derives ... Jules
Louis de Funès ... André
Luce Fabiole Luce Fabiole ... Amélie - la servante du curé
Yvonne Hébert Yvonne Hébert ... Julie
Roger Poirier Roger Poirier ... Un geôlier (as Poirier)
André Dalibert André Dalibert ... Le gendarme (as Dalibert)
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Storyline

Fed up with his wife Blandine, an alcoholic shrew, Paul Braconnier decides to get rid of her. But before taking action, the sly fox first consults a lawyer and skilfully finds out from him about the best way to go about murdering her. Back home, as his wife tries to poison him, Paul stabs her to death. The lawyer, who had talked too much, has no other choice but to have his client acquitted, even though this one cheerfully admits his guilt to the court. Paul returns to his village hailed as the local hero. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

30 November 1951 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

La Poison See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gaumont See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

There are no normal opening credits, director Sacha Guitry introduces everyone in the film. See more »

Connections

Remade as Un crime au paradis (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Et la Vie est en Fête
Music by Louiguy
Lyrics by Sacha Guitry
Performed by Lucienne Delyle
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Joy, And Everything Great About The French 'Old Wave'
23 March 2018 | by FiahmSee all my reviews

I thought I'd emptied out the mine of great French directors and then just this week discovered Sacha Guitry and am both overjoyed at the riches on display in this film and bewildered at its lack of recognition. It's as good as any French film I've ever seen: why have I never heard of it before?

Everything about La Poison is charming, thoughtful, cheeky, brave and subversive, from the opening scene of the director walking about the set greeting and thanking everyone (literally everyone) that worked on the film to the hilariously frank courtroom scenes at the end, and every frame of Michel Simon throughout. My God, was there ever such an actor? Only the gorgeously hypnotic ugliness of Charles Laughton would seem to compare.

Like the films of Max Ophuls from the same time, Le Ronde and Le Plaisir, these are grown-up films dealing with God, Sex, Death and Existence with both incontestable beauty and brutal honesty at a time when practically all American film was made for children, and feel to me almost like an alternate timeline in which cinema developed without the censorship of the Hays production code of the 30s onwards, a cinema of genuine poetry and art winning out over puritanism and commerce.

The only American films I can think of from this time that are anything like comparable to La Poison are Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux and Charles Laughton's Night Of The Hunter. Verdoux, a markedly inferior work to this one, got Chaplin hounded out of America for good and Hunter assured Laughton never directed again. Whereas the French loved their great artists and celebrated them for their minds and their magic.

I am reminded too, watching this, how much I prefer the savage and poetic French Old Wave to the empty faddish inanities of the Nouvelle Vague. I will happily take any 20 minutes of La Poison or La Ronde or Boudu Saved From Drowning over every single film by Truffault or Goddard.

This is a practically perfect film in every respect, and the only complaint I can really offer up is that the English subtitles of the two different versions I have found are both not as good as they could be, and with as deliriously barbed dialogue as this, where every line is saying something considered and integral, that's something of a crime in itself.


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