Paris, 1865. Octave Mouret is a young man filled with great ambitions. He is also a consummate Don Juan and it his talent for seducing members of the opposite sex which he intends using to make a rapid ascent of the social scale. He finds work as a salesman in an upmarket drapers’ shop, Au Bonheur des Dames, and soon makes a positive impression on his employer, Madame Hédouin. When the latter repels his amorous advances, Octave resigns and finds work with a rival shop managed by Auguste Vabre, the weak-willed son of his landlord. When Auguste discovers that Octave is having an affair with his wife, Berthe, he challenges him to a duel… —Filmsdefrance.com
Born in Lille in 1896, Julien Duvivier was a stage actor and then production assistant on André Antoine’s films before starting as a director in 1919. His prolific career – over 60 films – only ended on his death in 1967. After twenty or so silent movies inspired from many different sources, he attained international recognition in the 1930′s with movies which have become classics of “poetic realism”, notably the sound remake of Poil de carotte (1932), La Belle équipe (1936) and Pépé le Moko (1937).
After exile in Hollywood during the war, he returned to France in 1946 but failed to regain his former critical standing, despite such remarkable films as Panique (1947), Voici le temps des assassins (1956) and Pot Bouille (1957). He enjoyed international succes with The Little World of Don Camillo (1951). —Octuor de France
Is Julien Duvivier an auteur? Or not? French critics of the late 50's who'll become a little later the children of the French New Wave thought he was not. I haven't seen enough Duvivier movies to give my opinion about it but what I'm sure of is that Julien Duvivier was able to direct masterpieces like Pot-Bouille. And that's more than enough for me. A DVD zone my library.