6.4/10
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Marguerite de la nuit (1955)

Based on novel by Pierre Dumarchais. The story of the aging pedant who sells his soul to Satan in exchange for youth and knowledge.

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(adaptation), (dialogue) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Marguerite
... M. Léon
... L'homme austère
Jacques Clancy ... Angelo
... Un client du 'Pigall's'
Jacques Erwin ... Le ténor
Camille Guérini
Suzet Maïs ... Une cliente du 'Pigall's'
Max Mégy
Geneviève Morel ... La concierge
Fernand Sardou ... Le patron du café
Hélène Tossy ... La patronne du café
... Valentin
Louis Seigner ... L'homme de l'hôtel
Jean-François Calvé ... Georges Faust
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Storyline

Based on novel by Pierre Dumarchais. The story of the aging pedant who sells his soul to Satan in exchange for youth and knowledge.

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Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

29 December 1955 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Marguerite of the Night  »

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Technical Specs

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Goofs

The story takes place over 3 nights, beginning on Walpurgis Night, April 30, 1927. However, the third night, which should be May 2, the clients at Pigall's nightclub are listening to the radio and eagerly awaiting the news of Charles Lindbergh's arrival in France after his solo flight across the Atlantic, which took place on May 21, 1927. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Help me get Autant-Lara's Marguerite out of the night!
19 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

The rating at my time of writing is so low I cannot believe my eyes.Are people so blind?Why can't they see? "Marguerite de la nuit" is Autant-Lara's forgotten gem ;it tackles the well known story of Faust's damnation but it completely renews the subject.The one thing which gets in the way is that the film moves too slow ,its length is in excess of two hours ;but that's all.All that remains,except for the questionable performance of romantic young lead Jean-François Calvé -whose career in the movies was short-lived but made interesting made-for-TV works,notably an adaptation of Sue's "Mathilde" -,is splendid indeed.I'm not a Yves Montand fan,by a long shot,but I've got to acknowledge the extreme competence of his playing in "Marguerite".He is perfectly cast as the devil.Michèle MOrgan is equally good as Marguerite ; the couple that shines is Marguerite/Mephisto ,Faust is almost completely outstripped.It's interesting to note that the novel was written by Mac Orlan who also gave "Quai des Brumes" which put Morgan on the map.

More than "la Main du Diable" or René Clair's overrated "la Beauté du Diable" ,"Marguerite" recalls Fritz Lang 's silent movie "Der Mude Tod";like the heroine of that movie who was in search of a person willing to die ,Marguerite is looking for someone who could replace Faust in the maleficent pact.Expressionism is the keyword anyway:the settings are thoroughly disturbing from these streets (with no names) to the white surrealist church (and its incredible Christ) and a lugubrious graveyard where the only thing you can see is crosses,black crosses,which seem to have been painted on the landscape.The sublime metaphor of the railway station in a dreamlike train climaxes the movie.As Morgan's tears begin to flow,you cannot help but think of Powell/Pressburger 's "a matter of life and death" (the rose sequence) Autant-Lara 's movie is not a Christian movie:if a miracle happens ,it's because of Marguerite's love ,a human true pure love.Autant-Lara in the forties and in the fifties was anticlerical to a fault(see "l'Auberge Rouge" "Douce" and "le Diable au Corps").The scene with the man who treats Marguerite like a prostitute -Leon suggests us that she probably was one anyway-is revealing "I'm a believer,he says ,and I 'm afraid of Hell" Although Autant-Lara refuses christianism and religion,unlike Luis Bunuel,he puts in his movies positive figures of priests and believers: in the sixties,the hero of "Tu ne tueras point" would refuse the draft because of his beliefs and the "Nazi" Brother of "Le Franciscain de Bourges" would be a saint.Here Massimo Girotti's priest -Marguerite's brother is almost an anomaly in the fifties world of Autant-Lara;but when he holds his sister tenderly in his arms ,he heralds those characters to come.

The film opens with the opera final which an old descendant of Doctor Faust attends.The film was a colossal flop ,and Autant-Lara quickly made "la Traversée de Paris" which gave him the audience's acclaim again.


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