Tag Archives: Madeleine Renaud

Julien Duvivier – Maria Chapdelaine (1934)

MG REVIEW
“Maria Chapdelaine” beautifully supports and sustains French filmmaker Julien Duvivier’s gift for “poetic realism.” At base, this is a simple 19th century romantic triangle. Canadian lass Madeleine Renaud is adored with equal fervor by aristocratic Jean-Pierre Aumont and by crude lumberjack Jean Gabin. Her indecision paves the way for tragedy. Yes, Maria Chapdelaine is a bit old-fashioned in technique and story material, but that fact never stopped Duvivier from turning out a film of genuine merit. Though the 1984 remake, directed by Gilles Carle, is superior to Duvivier’s, the earlier film shouldn’t be ignored” Read More »

Jean Grémillon – Le ciel est à vous AKA The Sky is Yours (1944)

Considering that it was made during a bleak and distressing period for France, Le Ciel est à vous is an astonishingly uplifting film with a message of unfettered hope for the future. It is not difficult to read director Jean Grémillon’s allegorical call to arms behind the rather anodyne tale about a Lindbergh-esque exploit, based on the real-life story of Andrée Dupeyron, the wife of a garage owner in Mont-de-Marsan. Released in February 1944, a few months before the Liberation, the film was enormously popular in France, galvanising the efforts of the Resistance and their covert supporters with its inspiring subtext. Although Jean Grémillon would go on to make three more notable films, Le Ciel est à vous was his last commercial success, the highpoint of his career before a rapid decline into obscurity. Read More »

Jean Grémillon – L’Étrange Monsieur Victor AKA Strange M. Victor (1938)

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Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote this :

In his finest work, including this masterful 1938 noir, the remarkable French filmmaker Jean Gremillon (1901-1959), trained as a composer and musician, used mise en scene, script construction, editing, and dialogue delivery to explore the complex relationship between film and music.

Raimu, one of the greatest French actors, plays the “strange” title hero, a respectable Toulon merchant who secretly operates as a fence for local thieves; after he murders a potential blackmailer, an innocent local shoemaker (Pierre Blanchar) is sent to prison for his crime.

Seven years later the fall guy escapes, returns to Toulon to see his son, and, unaware of Victor’s guilt, persuades the merchant to shelter him, then becomes involved with his wife.
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