Pierre Blanchar

  • Anatole Litvak – Cette vieille canaille AKA The Old Devil (1933)

    1931-1940Anatole LitvakClassicsDramaFrance

    Vautier, a wealthy surgeon in his fifties, falls in love with Hélène, a young woman from a modest background. He allows her to have a string of short-lived lovers – but when Jean Trapeau, an old boyfriend, resurfaces, things get complicated.Read More »

  • Julien Duvivier – Un carnet de bal AKA Christine AKA Dance Program (1937)

    Julien Duvivier1931-1940ComedyDramaFrance

    A rich widow, nostalgic for the lavish parties of her youth, embarks on a journey to reconnect with the many suitors who once courted her. In doing so, she sets off on a course of discovery, both of herself and of how greatly the world has changed in two decades. Julien Duvivier’s smash hit is a wry, visually inventive tale of romantic pragmatism that deftly combines comedy and drama.Read More »

  • Robert Siodmak – Katia AKA Adorable Sinner (1959)

    Robert Siodmak1951-1960DramaFranceRomance

    The Tsar Alexandre II meets a young student, Katia. He understands that he loves her and try to send her away but they end up seeing each other again and becomes his mistress. With the help of Katia, Alexandre prepares a liberal constitution, but these reforms make him hostile to the more privileged subjects without satirising the revolutionaries against the regime.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 »

  • Pierre Chenal – Crime et châtiment aka Crime and Punishment (1935)

    1931-1940ClassicsCrimeFrancePierre Chenal

    Pierre Blanchar plays the murderer Raskolnikov, and Harry Baur is the police inspector on his trail…

    Crime et châtiment is one of the overlooked masterpieces of 1930s French cinema, an early and almost faultless adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s celebrated 1866 novel Crime and Punishment. One of the reasons for the film’s comparative obscurity is that it was released in the same year as Josef von Sternberg’s better known American adaptation which starred Peter Lorre and Edward Arnold. The French version appears to have been heavily influenced by an earlier silent adaptation Raskolnikow (1923) from the renowned German filmmaker Robert Wiene, whose best-known work – Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari (1920) – is powerfully evoked in this film’s staging of the pivotal murder scene.Read 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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