Marianne of My Youth (1955) Poster

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jan onderwater1 November 1999
This is one of the strangest films I ever saw: Horst Buchholz as a young man from Argentine finds first love in the Bavarian forests! But is his loved one either crazy or a ghost, or is she neither? The aim of the film is to give a very poetic and dreamlike rendering of how the Argentinian (as he is called by his friends) goes through this stage. The strangeness of the film is caused by Duvivier trying hard to achieve this, but most of the times he missing the right tone; he can not sweep the viewer off his feet to accept all he is seeing. There are scenes though that are successful and the best scene (and a very compelling one indeed) is the first encounter between the Argentinian and the girl.

Unavoidably the film heavily relies on poetic symbolism. When the Argentinian first realizes that he is in love, he rushes into the castle accompanied by a storm and heavy rain that shakes the castle. This is still acceptable (but also one of the scenes that should have deserved a better treatment in the direction), but why his love for nature, his natural innocence have to be illustrated by countless deer, is beyond me; this is getting almost satirical. Another aspect of the story that is not elaborated too well, is the presence of the other young girl Liselotte. Okay it is clear that she wants him, but she is never established as a real character, she pops in and out.

Two of the main features of the film and without which the film would probably not have survived are the cinematography and set design that give the most strength to the film. Just look at that openings shot or that extremely well done shot with the Argentinian and the girl in close up and the painting of the girl on the left behind her. Just see how the set designer in his design of the girl's house knew how to convey the dark and tense atmosphere. Music is good too.

The cast has a couple of names who need mentioning. First of course Horst Buchholz in his 2nd feature film; he is good but in his scenes with Marianne Hold (the girl from the castle) he does not stand a change! Until now I knew Marianne Hold only as the eternal virgin in Heimatfilms, but in this film she shows that she was a great actress: whenever she is on screen the complete film is raised a couple of levels in quality and atmosphere. Other noteworthy names (not always for their acting) are: Michael Verhoeven - the later director; Adi Berber - a heavy weight wrestler from Austria here playing a servant who would be very much at home with the Addams Family!; Peter Vogel in one of his first parts.

This is the German language version of a French film with the same name. According to some sources the French language version is better than this one, but alas I can not check. All in all: strange, not always successful, but certainly worth a look. (7/10)
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Remembrances of a youthful late-night viewing of 'Marianne of My Youth'
stanley-milstein21 December 2006
Previous comments on this film that I have seen describe it as having a 'dreamy' character, with which I totally concur. It is indeed a young man's fantasy, my remembrances of it leaving me with feelings of profound melancholy; other reviewers have stated that they first saw it at the approximate age of 12 and of being totally captivated and romantically moved by it; surprisingly, these are my recollections of it, myself. I, too, saw it at about the same age, and I also recall being equally moved by the content of the film and the beauty as well as another quality about the lead actress, Marianne Hold,...something I remember as haunting and ephemeral...difficult to define. Many years later, I find that I am motivated to view it once again...and, this time, to read the book upon which it is based, as well. Will I find it equally captivating as I did decades ago, or will I find my memory of those 1950s and 1960s viewings, when I was able to find the B&W film on late-night-television, far exceeds their reality? (Does this description equally epitomize the anticipation vs. the reality of other aspects of one's physical/corporeal life? I wonder.)
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Romantic Duvivier
dbdumonteil13 June 2003
In a world as black as Duvivier's,"Marianne de ma jeunesse" seems like an anomaly.This movie was looked upon,for a while, as the film equivalent of Alain-Fournier's "le grand Meaulnes",but as so many movies of the fifties,it was overshadowed by the impending coming for the nouvelle vague.

Hindsight displays its charms.Pierre Vaneck portrays a young romantic high school student,in a remote castle on the misty banks of a lake.Across the lake,there lives a mysterious beautiful woman who seems to be in jeopardy.The atmosphere is dreamy,and the audience sometimes stops and wonders whether the story is a fairy tale or not.Sandwiched,in Duvivier's work,between two very noir films ,"l'affaire Maurizius" ,and "voici le temps des assassins" -which I urge everybody to see if he can-,"Marianne " seems like a truce, a quiet place where the man's soul remains chaste and pure.

The black and white cinematography is close to perfect.
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I knew a boy....
dbdumonteil11 November 2009
...who tried to walk across the lake

Of course it was winter and all this was ice

They say the lake is as big as the ocean

I wonder if he knew about it.... (Yoko Ono,lyrics slightly modified)

In the early thirties ,it was usual to film the same movie in French and in German.Duvivier did it with "Les Cinq Gentlemans Maudits " ,his peer Robert Siodmak did the same for "Tumultes" ("Sturme Der Leidenschaft").In the mid-fifties ,it was less common,but anyway "Marianne" is unique,a movie which becomes stronger and stronger each time you watch it .I've received more messages about it than about any other Duvivier 's movie ...and than any other French movie!It's incredibly popular in Japan ,and if it so, it's because it's not a movie like the other ones ,it's not a movie like the other Duvivier (although the director had already shown lots of flair for mysterious dreamlike atmospheres as "La Charrette Fantome" and his best American film "Flesh and Fantasy" testify .

Like many Duvivier's buffs,I saw the French version first.When you compare the two movies,it's to state the obvious to write that Horst Buchholz is a better Vincent than Pierre Vaneck .He was often nicknamed the German James Dean and he is ideally cast as an adolescent -although he was 23- for his boyish good looks ,his "Actor Studioesque playing and his face which always looks strained work wonders.Marianne Hold plays in the two movies (like her female co-star Isabelle Pia)and Duvivier films her lovingly :she and Buchholz were par excellence the ideal couple.

"Marianne" is perhaps the most purely artistic work Duvivier ever created and in its own particular way,it stands with his best.The black and white cinematography is stunning and you go into raptures over these misty banks ,these forests full of deers ,this castle where boys have their first experience of friendship ,of love and of dreams;they are still dreaming of Prince Charming,of princesses in jeopardy,of villains waiting in the dark house across the lake which they say is haunted.The movie contains scenes that will have you on the edge of your seats : the concert ,beginning with a classical piece (Mozart) which seems to make the boys yawn their heads off and ending with a South American folk tune when the audience goes literally into a trance;Vincent ,beating the jealous girl ,an anti-romantic scene in the most romantic of all French movies of the fifties ;the storm which is not only around the castle -Duvivier had directed a similar scene in his portion of "destiny" for which he was not credited-;the mysterious mansion where they're preparing a feast complete with banquet ,flowers and altar but where nobody comes until...;and this extraordinary fair ,where the parade adds another disturbing touch...Are we in some Perrault's fairy tale?

"Marianne" is one of these rare movies which can mesmerize you.When it's over ,you ask to yourself:was it a dream? Was It a dream I had when I was younger,so much younger than today?

A Propos of Horst Buchholz : he did not make the career he deserved ,being too gifted for what the directors had to offer him.Who still remembers he was the physician in the concentration camp in "La Vita E Bella" ?At least he ended his career on a high note.
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Haunting in many ways
jsmarr424 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Like the previous reviewer I had begun to wonder if my mind was playing tricks on me. I saw this film alone on a late night TV filming in December, 1966. For years I tried to find someone else who may have seen it -- even knowledgeable movie buffs, critics and film historians claimed it not to exist. No one had ever seen it! Had I dreamed it up myself? Now, thanks to the IMDb I found that both a German and French version exist. A young HorstBuchholz is in the former German movie. It was the one I saw.

I still remember the last few lines when Marianne is taken by her ward to some castle in Europe the shadow of which "crosses three countries' borders." I even tried the castle on a map of Europe.

I do wish some DVD entrpreneur would find it and restore it, and with it, my own jeunesse.
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Sweet Bird Of Youth
writers_reign15 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When they wanted someone to do Versatile in Hollywood they sent for Howard Hawks, who in his time churned out high quality Westerns, Musicals, Screwball Comedies, Thrillers, Gangster movies and ordinary Dramas. In France his counterpart was Julien Duvivier who was equally at home in a variety of genres. In his fifth decade as a writer-director he made two versions of a Romantic Fantasy both starring the German actress Marianne Hold. I've yet to see the German version of Marianne de ma jeunesse but the French entry represents Duvivier on top of his game. Nothing or no one is quite what it/they seem(s) here. Duvivier begins by letting his camera roam freely through Bavarian forest til it establishes a typical Schloss and just when we figure we know what's coming it is revealed to be a school for children of well-heeled parents. Gradually a ring-leader, Vincent (Pierre Vaneck) emerges from the pack and after some well-controlled pacing by Duvivier he encounters the eponymous Marianne, falls in love, loses the girl and grows up. That's putting it baldly but the film achieves its effects much more subtly, gradually drawing the viewer into a fantasy realm that may exist only in youthful heightened imagination. This really is a film that will haunt the susceptible viewer and should be sought out by discerning viewers.
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Visually, often evocative and sensitive
VJA-231 July 1999
Style, setting, lighting, and mood are the strong points of this coming of age film, replete with youthful exuberance, faith, yearning and near fairy-tale trappings. However, once you get beyond mood and atmosphere, the film, upon reflection, is quite pedestrian in its plot and dialogue. I first saw this film when I was 12 years old, and it made a major impression on me. I've never seen it screened anywhere else (and I've had serious arguments with very knowledgeable buffs about whether or not it actually existed), and, honestly, I don't know if I ever want to see it again and risk losing that sense of youthful wonder.
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Help me find the movie or the novel
drlopezmatus20 January 2008
I'm also a captive-fan of this movie. I watched it when I was 12 and I really didn't understand at all, but while I was growing I remember and learned many things about this movie and I kept yearning to watch again the movie or read Peter Mendelsohn's novel. As others commentaries I remember it as a dream or as a fantasy that perhaps never watched. There is a comment in the movie that I'll remember forever, the old man who Vincent suspect has Marianne imprisons tell him "nowadays there are no ogres keeping Princess, there are only old men with cloudy eyes by the tears" or something like that. Can someone help me find one or another, novel or movie? In the case of the movie I'll prefer the french version with English or Spanish subtitles or the English version and in the case of novel I'll like French, English or if exist Spanish version. Thank you.
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a cruel romantic tale by Julien Duvivier, I couldn't believe it
happytrigger-64-39051720 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Just before his masterpiece Voici Le Temps Des Assassins, Julien Duvivier directed that not too well known romantic and out of time tale, settled in a castle in mountains and forest next to a lake.

And so graphic. Far from cities.

I won't tell no more, everything has been said by other reviewers, especially the french one, always accurate in french cinema. Just try to fetch this one without too many informations, don't spoil your pleasure.

Yes, you will discover another side of Duvivier's talent, a cruel romantic tale with haunting scenes. And every scenes with deers are delightful until the ultimate scene. Is it an accident, Duvivier will direct a similar scene in his next movie and masterpiece, Voici Le Temps Des Assassins.

I just regret I didn't see that incredible tale when I was around ten, it would have haunted me all my life. Like Les Sont Faits directed by Jean Delannoy. Another forgotten gem.

Yes, strange movies are strangely forgotten. Why?
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So long, Marianne
Klara Gitona14 March 2016
I wonder how it would be to watch this movie again. Probably I won't. I'd rather let the mysterious atmosphere of the film that obviously enchanted the other reviewers a bit too, untouched. Somehow funny that whilst I can remember only one particular scene from the movie (and it was a miracle that I even managed to find a title of the movie, since I didn't remember any relevant information about it but the name Marianne), I can still discern my feelings when watching the movie as if it was yesterday. The scene that is there in front of my eyes still very vivid, is the one in which Vincent pursues and eventually catches a deer with his bare hands. A triumphant Young man full of adrenalin and a deer, frightened to death.
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