Jean Grémillon

  • Jean Grémillon – Daïnah la métisse (1932)

    1931-1940DramaFranceJean GrémillonMystery
    Daïnah la métisse (1932)
    Daïnah la métisse (1932)

    Shades of Othello loom in this engrossing exploration of class, race, and murder set on an ocean liner. Young Dainah encounters an engineer on board who mistakes pleasantries for flirtation. When she disappears the next day, suspicion spreads not only to the engineer but also to Dainah’s husband. Forward-thinking and absorbing.Read More »

  • Jean Grémillon – L’Étrange Madame X AKA Strange Madame X (1951)

    Jean Grémillon1951-1960DramaFranceRomance

    Étienne, a modest carpenter, believes he has found the perfect partner in Irène, a beautiful young woman who appears to be devoted to him. But Irène is not the simple housemaid she pretends to be. In truth, she is the wife of a wealthy man, living in a grand house where she plays hostess at her frequent soirées to the cream of Parisian society. Irène is content with her double life until the day she discovers she is pregnant with Étienne’s child. After the baby is born, Irène promises to marry Étienne, without telling him that she must first persuade her present husband to agree to a divorce. Étienne’s hopes for future happiness are dashed when the business he attempts to set up fails and his child falls dangerously ill. The final blow comes when he visits Irène at the house where she claims to work and discovers the truth that she has long concealed from him…
    — James Travers .Read More »

  • Jean Grémillon – Remorques aka Stormy Waters (1941)

    1941-1950DramaFranceJean Grémillon

    This tender, muscular, fatalistic film rematches Jean Gabin and Michèle Morgan (after Le quai des brumes) in an anguished love triangle with Madeleine Renaud, Grémillon’s favorite actress. Love, obligation and desire play out against the backdrop of the merciless ocean and the seductive escape of sea-going.

    Laurent (Gabin) is a tugboat owner who rescues a merchant vessel from a violent sea. Besides its unscrupulous captain, the rescued ship’s most dangerous cargo is his restless and seductive wife (Morgan). Meanwhile, Gabin’s devoted but ailing wife (Renaud) waits impatiently for him at home…

    As dbdumonteil notes, the plot is banal… but Gabin, Prévert and Armand Thirard’s luminous lighting paint it in forty shades of grey.
    (filmnutz)Read More »

  • Jean Grémillon – Lumière d’été (1943)

    1941-1950DramaFranceJean Grémillon

    A shimmering glass hotel at the top of a remote Provençal mountain provides the setting for a tragicomic tapestry about an obsessive love pentangle, whose principals range from an artist to a hotel manager to a dam worker. Scripted by Jacques Prévert and Pierre Laroche, the film was banned from theaters for the duration of the occupation for its dark portrayal of the hedonistic excesses of the ruling class. Today, it is often singled out as Jean Grémillon’s greatest achievement. Written by AnonymousRead More »

  • Jean Grémillon – Pattes blanches AKA White Paws (1949)

    Jean Grémillon1941-1950ClassicsDramaFrance

    The “white paws” of this noirish melodrama are the gaudy white spats sported by a reclusive French aristocrat in a fishing village on the coast of Normandy. Scripted by French playwright Jean Anouilh, who was originally to have directed it, Pattes blanches was ultimately brought to the screen by Grémillon, who accepted the project after the commercial failure of his Le ciel est à vous. The moody plot concerns the relationship of the aristocrat (Bernard) and his vengeful half-brother (Bouquet) and their rivalry over a promiscuous flirt from the city (Delair) who has married the local innkeeper. Although produced within the framework of the commercial cinema, Grémillon’s film manages to imbue the melodrama with a sharp sense of class divisions and his characteristic visual harmonies. (Harvard Film Archives)Read More »

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

    1941-1950ArthouseDramaFranceJean Grémillon

    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 – Gardiens de phare AKA The Lighthouse Keepers (1929)

    1921-1930ClassicsDramaFranceJean Grémillon

    A lighthouse keeper and his son are stranded by the storm in a lighthouse.Read More »

  • Jean Grémillon – Maldone (1928)

    1921-1930DramaFranceJean Grémillon

    Recently restored (in 2001) by Centrimage for ZZ Productions, Maldone is one of the great achievements of French silent cinema. It was the first genuine masterpiece from Jean Grémillon and is also a very good example of the documentary style of film from this period. It was released in October 1928 but was not a great success, bringing and end to Charles Dullin’s film production ambitions (Dullin also stars in the film as Maldone).Read More »

  • Jean Grémillon – L’amour d’une femme AKA The Love of a Woman (1953)

    1951-1960DramaFranceJean Grémillon

    Marie Prieur, a young doctor, decides to settle down on Ushant, a remote island belonging to Brittany. Little by little she manages to be accepted by the population. One day she meets André Lorenzi, a handsome engineer, and it is love at first sight. Life is wonderful for a while but André wants to marry her only if she remains at home. Despite her strong feelings for André, Marie refuses to give up her vocation and the two lovers part. Marie finds herself alone, with a broken heart.Read More »

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