• Marcel Pagnol – Regain aka Harvest (1937)

    1931-1940DramaFranceMarcel Pagnol

    Judy Bloch, Pacific Film Archive wrote:
    Aubignac, a village situated high upon a crag in Provence, suffers the common fate of such enclaves, reduced and abandoned over time. Only three people remain: an old blacksmith, a withered crone, and a middle-aged poacher, Panturle (Gabriel Gabrio). And finally, it is Panturle, alone. Enter Arsule (Orane Demazis), a down-at-the-heels cabaret singer, and Gédémus (Fernandel), an itinerant knife-grinder who has picked her up; now she pulls his cart, like something out of La Strada. Arsule and Panturle team up to revitalize her existence and his land, the welcoming soil of Aubignac. Harvest, based on Jean Giono’s novel, is at once Pagnol’s crudest and clearest statement about humans and the earth: both will decay if left alone. But there is darkness, too—like the grinder whose comic ruses are edged with threat—against which the simple humanity of Arsule and Panturle becomes rather more complex.Read More »

  • Jean Boyer – Relaxe-toi cherie AKA Relax Yourself Darling (1964)

    1961-1970ComedyFranceJean Boyer

    François and Hélène Faustin have been happily married for 12 years. One day, Hélène takes a sudden interest in psychoanalysis and she becomes persuaded that her husband’s apparent fidelity is a subconscious attempt to compensate for a terrible personal drama in his past. Determined to cure François of his deep-seated and potentially dangerous neuroses, Hélène decides to manoeuvre him into having an affair with his secretary.Read More »

  • Maurice Lehmann & Claude Autant-Lara – Fric-Frac (1939)

    1931-1940Claude Autant-LaraComedyCrimeFranceMaurice Lehmann

    Marcel works as assistant to a jeweller whose bossy daughter Renée keeps hitting on him. When he meets lovely Loulou and her lazy friend Jo, he is fascinated by the girl and somehow attracted by their world : Loulou and Jo are crooks. As Marcel naively tries to bring some morality in their lives, the pair turn him into an unwilling accomplice in the robbery of his boss’s jewels.Read More »

  • Carmine Gallone – Don Camillo monsignore… ma non troppo AKA Don Camillo: Monsignor (1961)

    Carmine Gallone1961-1970ClassicsComedyFrance

    With both Don Camillo and his communist archenemy Peppone away in Rome, the little Italian village of Brescello is at last a haven of peace. But this happy state of affairs doesn’t last long… The news that the villagers plan to demolish an ancient chapel and build a House of the People in its place soon reaches the ears of Don Camillo, now comfortably ensconced in the Vatican. Appalled by this proposed act of desecration, the priest hurries back to his former village and is soon caught up in yet another blood-and-guts tussle with the troublesome Peppone.Read More »

  • Maurice Cammage – Le Coq Du Regiment (1933)

    1931-1940ComedyFranceMaurice Cammage

    Labeled in the credits as a “vaudeville filme” [sorry, can’t get the accent mark on the filme], Le coq du regiment (dir. Maurice Cammage) was filmed at the Courbevoie studio near Paris, using the Photo-Sonor technology developed by French radio. The film could also be described as a comique troupier, a comedy film about military life, a popular French film genre of the 1930s. Le coq du regiment features the comic actor Fernandel, as does another military comedy of the period, Pathe Natan’s Les gaites de l’escadron (dir. Maurice Tourneur, 1932). Le coq du regiment also features stage-trained actors performing a script adapted from the stage, and direct-recorded sound. Read More »

  • Marcel Pagnol – La fille du puisatier aka The well-digger’s daughter (1940)

    1931-1940DramaFranceMarcel Pagnol

    The Well-Digger’s Daughter served to reunite star Raimu and writer/director Marcel Pagnol, who’d earlier scored an international hit with the “Marseilles trilogy” (Fanny, Marius, Cesar). The title character played by Josette Day, is impregnated by aviator George Gray. Her father, Raimu, orders Josette out of the house so that her younger sisters won’t be likewise “corrupted”. There’s many a moment of pathos and hilarity before Raimu realizes the folly of his behavior. Filmed in 1940, just after France’s acquiescence to their Nazi conquerors, The Well-Digger’s Daughter didn’t make it to the US until 1946. (Hal Erickson@All Movie Guide)Read More »

  • Julien Duvivier – Le Petit monde de Don Camillo aka The Little World of Don Camillo (1952)

    1951-1960ComedyFranceJulien DuvivierPolitics

    Plot summary :
    In a village of the Po valley where the earth is hard and life miserly, the priest and the communist mayor are always fighting to be the head of the community. If in secret, they admired and liked each other, politics still divided them as it is dividing the country. And when the mayor wants his “People’s House”; the priest wants his “Garden City” for the poor. Division exist between the richest and the poorest, the pious and the atheists and even between lovers. But if the people are hard as the country, they are good in the bottom of there heart.Read More »

  • Christian-Jaque – La legge è legge aka The law Is the law (1958)


    Assola is an imaginary village on the border between Italy and France and the borderline crosses the village itself. The French customs agent Ferdinand is always trying to catch the Italian smuggler Giuseppe. Giuseppe discovers that Ferdinand was actually born in Italy and therefore he can’t be a French customs agent.Read More »

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