Archive for March 2nd, 2012

by Allan Fish

(France 1937 128m) DVD2 (France only, no English subs)

Aka. Life Dances On; Christine

Loneliness is the same everywhere
p  Jean-Pierre Frogeries  d  Julien Duvivier  w  Jean Sarment, Pierre Wolff, Bernard Zimmer, Henri Jeanson, Julien Duvivier  ph  Michel Kelber, Philippe Agostini, Pierre Levent  ed  André Versein  m  Maurice Jaubert  art  Paul Colin, Serge Pimenoff

Marie Bell (Christine Surgère), Françoise Rosay (Marguerite Audié), Fernandel (Fabien Coutissol, no 7), Raimu (François Patusset, no 5), Pierre Blanchar (Thierry Reynal, no 6), Harry Baur (Alain Regnault, no 3), Louis Jouvet (Pierre Verdier, no 2), Pierre-Richard Willm (Eric Irvin, no 4), Maurice Bénard (Brémond), Sylvie (Thierry’s mistress), Robert Lynen (Jacques Dambreval), Milly Mathis (Cécile Galthery), Pierre Alcover (Teddy Melanco), Gabrielle Fontan (Rose), Henri Nassiet (policeman), Andrex (Paul),

If one looks up Julien Duvivier’s once-celebrated romantic drama in your average film tome it’s a good bet that the majority will refer to how it seems like something out of step with French cinema of its time; even, one might say, with Duvivier’s career.  It came hard on the back of Pépé le Moko, one of the pivotal pessimistic dramas that would result in the poetic realist Carné-Prévert movement of the upcoming years.  It also hasn’t been helped by posterity, with English friendly viewings so thin on the ground.

Bell plays Christine, a newly-widowed woman in her thirties left with just her memories in a large estate by a lake in the Alps.  She finds a dance card from when she was sixteen and is seized with the notion of looking up her one-time dance partners both to satisfy her romantic curiosity – they all told her they would love her “all my life” – and to see if they have stayed faithful to their youthful aspirations. (more…)

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