Marcel Pagnol's classic tale gets the americanization treatment from Joshua Logan but at heart keeps to its' Marseilles set tale. The first half is pretty corny and melodramatic but the film develops into a quite touching version anchored by strong turns from stalwarts Boyer and Chevalier plus a fine turn from Caron in the title role. The great Jack Cardiff excels here behind the camera but the score is just awful.
Nice to see actual shots of Marseilles. Charles Boyer and Maurice Chevalier steal the show. Despite the melodramatic plot, they are terrific as aging patriarchs. The pace of the film lags terribly; at least 20 minutes could have been eliminated without detriment. Fanny's life feels frustratingly outdated as she is passed from man to man. Luckily women these days have more options for how to live their lives.
I have no idea why MUBI is highlighting this travesty. It does not compare with the Pagnol trilogy. Joshua Logan, the specialist in patronizing performances (see "Picnic"), doesn't even use the rather pretty score from the Broadway show by Harold Rome except as background music. Not worth your time.
Interesting story. good score. Strange vibe at first seeming very goofy with the hat gag and the bickering. They really tried to shift the way you saw Panisse throughout the film in relation to Maurice. He seems like a lech when he is all over Fanny and then he offers to be noble and raise her child (although for his own selfish reasons) then he confesses to cheating before giving permission for them to marry.
I don't know why I'm rating this 4 stars. It's really 3 at the most — 3 is my minimum if I actually watch a film to the end, well, usually my minimum. This one gets 4 because of the characters, how theatrical and animated they were from the beginning.