Classic French Films

Classic French Films

From just before World War II until the dawn of the "New Wave" here is a small group of enjoyable, curious, sometimes unexpected black & white films with many of the major stars of the period. (Also we've included the much earlier first film by Marc Allégret, one of the most prolific French directors of the time.)

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Classic French Films
  • Julietta

    Directed by Marc Allégret • Drama • With Jean Marais, Dany Robin, Jeanne Moreau • 1953 • 97 minutes

    JULIETTA is a romantic comedy with the whimsical energy of a hummingbird. Dany Robin stars as the eponymous demoiselle, a flighty, impulsive pixie in white gloves who is engaged to an older prince...

  • La Dénonciation (The Immoral Moment)

    Directed by Jacques Doniol-Valcroze • Drama • 1961 • 72 minutes

    An innocent man, a dark bar, a body already on the floor, a brawl – what happened? And who’s innocent, anyway? Jacques Doniol-Valcroze’s game-playing mystery begins with a simple police investigation, but gradually, almost casually,...

  • School for Love

    Directed by Marc Allégret • Drama • With Jean Marais, Brigitte Bardot, Isabelle Pia, Yves Robert • 1955 • 96 minutes

    Brigitte Bardot was only 20 when she starred in this adaptation of a 1920 Vicki Baum novel. She’s Sophie, one of a platoon of young music conservatory students in postwar Vienna,...

  • Travels in the Congo (Voyage au Congo)

    Directed by Marc Allégret • Documentary • 1927 • 117 minutes

    In 1925, Marc Allégret accompanied André Gide on a journey to French Equatorial Africa, the Congo, as his secretary, and novice filmmaker. Filming throughout their 11-month travels, and only three years after Nanook of the North, Allég...

  • A Game for Six Lovers

    Directed by Jacques Doniol-Valcroze • Drama • 1960 • 84 minutes

    One of the founders of the epochal film magazine Cahiers du cinema, and therefore a prime mover of the French New Wave, Doniol-Valcroze joined all the upstart critics making films in the late ‘50s-early 60s with this decadent debut,...

  • Lady Chatterley's Lover

    Directed by Marc Allégret • Drama • With Danielle Darrieux, Leo Genn, Erno Crisa, Jean Murat • 1955 • 100 minutes

    This is the first film of D.H. Lawrence’s controversial novel, which premiered in 1955, five years before the uncensored novel even appeared in print in the UK. Danielle Darrieux (in...

  • Olivia
    Movie + 1 extra

    Olivia

    Movie + 1 extra

    OLIVIA is a remarkable work by one of France’s first ground-breaking female filmmakers, which easily merits rediscovery today after being neglected for almost 70 years.

    Plunging the viewer—and the main character—into a true lion’s den, Jacqueline Audry (1908-1977) depicts a 19th century boardin...

  • Fric-Frac

    Directed by Maurice Lehmann • Drama • With Fernandel, Michel Simon, Arletty, Hélène Robert • 1939 • 106 minutes

    Fernandel was a 20th-century French phenomenon – once he emerged from supporting roles in the early ‘30s, with his inimitable equine mug, enormous incisors and friendly eyes, he comman...

  • The Scheming Women (Les Intrigantes)

    Directed by Henri Decoin • Drama • With Raymond Rouleau, Jeanne Moreau, Raymond Pellegrin, Etchika Choureau • 1954 • 98 minutes

    An accidental death or a murder? Henri Decoin’s swervy postwar mystery dangles that question over the audience like a loose spotlight, plunging into the teeming worklif...

  • With André Gide

    Directed by Marc Allégret • Documentary • 1951 • 92 minutes

    Nobel-prize-winning author, social justice crusader, anti-colonialist, adventure traveler, musician, and one-time Communist: André Gide was a larger-than-life character who dominated French letters from the turn of the 20th century to h...