Madeleine Renaud

  • 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 Benoît-Lévy & Marie Epstein – La Maternelle AKA Children of Montmartre (1933)

    1931-1940ClassicsFranceJean Benoît-LévyMarie Epstein

    Below is an apt “user comment” from the film’s IMDB page. For my money, LA MATERNELLE is an even greater film than ZERO FOR CONDUCT, which is saying a lot.

    “Until I saw this film at a Cinema Conference in Aberdeen in 1995 I was ignorant of the fact that a woman director had produced poetic and social cinema comparable with Vigo’s ZERO DE CONDUITE (certainly one of the greatest films ever). Vigo in 1933 is revolutionary anarchist with modernist poetry at his finger tips; Epstein in 1933 is warm-hearted popular front realism with magnificent performances by nursery school kids, though the main schoolgirl is a little older (and in love with her teacher, like the protagonist in Leontine Sagan’s MAIDENS IN UNIFORM 1931). Read More »

  • Harry Lachman – La belle marinière (1932)

    1931-1940ClassicsFranceHarry Lachman

    A film thought to be lost until 5 reels (out of 9) were found in the UCLA archives. It was derived from an eponymous play by Marcel Achard which allowed to reconstruct he synopsis. Jean Gabin is the captain of the Cormorant, a horse-drawn barge, living happily along the canals with his sister Mique and Sylvestre (Pierre Blanchar), his fellow mariner and friend. The film starts with Gabin rescuing a young lady named Marinette (Madeleine Renaud) who had fallen in the canal for unsaid reason. Gabin soon also falls (for her), they get married and the boat is renamed ‘la Belle Marinière’ (the handsome she-mariner). During the wedding party returns Sylvestre (a handsome he-mariner) who had been away for the necessities of the script. He will now be the object of a growing interest from Marinette which results in the expected confict between the two men.Read More »

  • Julien Duvivier – Maria Chapdelaine (1934)

    1931-1940DramaFranceJulien Duvivier

    “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)

    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 »

  • Philippe de Broca – Le diable par la queue AKA The Devil by the Tail (1969)

    France1961-1970ComedyCrimePhilippe de Broca



    ‘A family of aristocrats have fallen on hard times. To pay for repairs to their crumbling country chateau they are forced to use their home as a hotel. The local garage mechanic, Charlie, provides a constant stream of guests for them by sabotaging any car that arrives in his garage. The latest arrival is an important-looking man, Cesar Maricorne, accompanied by his two aides. When she learns that he is a gangster who has just robbed a bank, the aging Marquise realises that her family’s financial worries may be at an end…’
    – Films de FranceRead More »

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

    1931-1940CrimeDramaFranceJean Grémillon


    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.
    Read More »

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