In the US, the New York Times wrote about Marcel Pagnol’s film: “Is one of the most admirable films ever made; pagan, poetic and incomparably witty. If cinema could maintain the same level of this film’s rules, pretty soon we would end up too spoiled”. Far from maintain- ing those same rules, the French immediately produced a torrent of imitations, and everyone got fed up with “peasant”, “simple and rough” comedies, each one trying to be the next The Baker’s Wife. Pagnol adapted this classic about the mishaps of a cuckold husband from Jean Giono’s novel Jean le Bleau. The village baker can’t work because he’s sad about her wife running off with a stupid, erotic lad; so the villagers, who want their bread, organize to bring her back home. Raimu’s baker is a classic of the acting craft…a true tragicomic hero; and spectators will find out the film is a perfect comedy.
Marcel Pagnol (French pronunciation: [maʁsɛl paɲɔl]; February 28, 1895 – April 18, 1974) was a French novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. In 1946, he became the first filmmaker elected to the Académie Française.
Pagnol was born on February 28, 1895 in Aubagne, Bouches-du-Rhône département, in southern France near Marseille, the eldest son of school teacher Joseph Pagnol and seamstress Augustine Lansot. Marcel Pagnol grew up in Marseille with his younger brothers Paul, René, and younger sister Germaine.
To his father’s amazement, Pagnol learned to read at a young age. His mother, however, did not allow him to touch a book until he was six “for fear of cerebral explosion”. In July 1904, the family rented the Bastide Neuve – a house in the sleepy Provençal village of La Treille – for the summer holidays, the first of many spent in the hilly countryside between Aubagne and Marseille. About the same time, Augustine’s health, which had never been robust, began to noticeably decline… read more
A look at some of the best original French posters for the films in Film Forum’s current series: The French Old Wave.