by Allan Fish
(France 1932 250m) DVD2 (France only, no Eng subs)
Aka. The Redhead
No more carrot-top
p Marcel Vandel, Charles Delac d/w Julien Duvivier story Jules Renard ph Armand Thirard ed Marthe Poncin m Alexander Tansman
Harry Baur (Monsieur Lepic), Robert Lynen (François ‘Poil de Carotte’ Lepic), Catherine Fonteney (Madame Lepic), Louis Gouthier (godfather), Simone Aubry (Ernestine Lepic), Colette Segall (Mathilde), Maxime Fromiot (Felix Lepic), Christiane Dor (Annette),
It’s the old stigma again, putting on the ginger-haired kid. Duvivier had first told the story as a silent back in 1925. Then old Henry Krauss had played the father and it had been a fine film in its own right. Duvivier wasn’t happy, though, and after the success of his early talkie Au Bonheur des Dames, thoughts of doing Poil de Carotte again quickly took him over. It was a rural tale, one of the most rural, and that brought its own technical complications, but the country drama was back in vogue, the French provinces were beginning to warm to the work of Marcel Pagnol, and there had always been a love of children at play in the country in France. There had been the Léonce Perret serials with Bout-de-Zan, and then the heart-rending performances of Jean Forest for Jacques Feyder in the 1920s. And then look ahead, the tradition maintained through Jeux Interdits to Le Grand Chemin.
Poil de Carotte (carrot-top) is the youngest son of the Lepics. At school he’s a loner, and his teachers are disturbed by his impressions of family life, of families being people who loathe each other. His father has become a milquetoast, a man under the thumb of a literally tyrannical, thoroughly nasty wife who lets her elder children do what they want but who bullies and harangues Poil de Carotte something rotten. His only friends are the new servant who comes to work for them after Madame fires the old one for being too old and past it, and a little girl who lives nearby, Mathilde. (more…)