French Love Stories • 1h 42m
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 commanded lead roles in over 40 films before the decade was through. (His popularity and prolificness didn’t wane until his death in 1971.) This relaxed farce features the star as a naive jeweler’s assistant who unknowingly gets mixed up with the Parisian demimonde – namely, Michel Simon’s petty crook and Arletty’s convicted-gangster’s moll. Under extreme pressure from his boss’ dicatorial daughter (Helene Robert) to become a couple, Fernandel’s blithe Everyman falls for Arletty’s worldly vixen, and the four of them work at all kinds of cross-purposes until, inevitably, the underworlders decide they have to break into (“fric-frac”) the jeweler’s safe.
Up Next in French Love Stories
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...
La Dénonciation (The Immoral Moment)
Directed by Jacques Doniol-Valcroze • Drama • With Maurice Ronet, Françoise Brion, Nicole Berger • 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 ...