The songs in the movies were sometimes written by the directors.Julien Duvivier was one of them ,and the second part of the chapter is entirely devoted to him.


Bertrand Tavernier


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Episode credited cast:
Bertrand Tavernier ... Himself - Host
André Marcon ... Récitant / Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Senta Berger ... Herself (archive footage)
Jean-Jacques Bernard Jean-Jacques Bernard ... Himself (archive footage)
François Chalais François Chalais ... Himself
René Clair ... Himself (archive footage)
Danièle Delorme Danièle Delorme ... Herself (archive footage)
Jean-Pierre Dionnet Jean-Pierre Dionnet ... Himself (archive footage)
Julien Duvivier ... Himself (archive footage)
Jean Gabin ... Himself (archive footage)
Henri Jeanson Henri Jeanson ... Himself (archive footage)
Michel Kelber Michel Kelber ... Himself (archive footage)
Jean Ollé-Laprune Jean Ollé-Laprune ... Himself (archive footage)
Denis Parent Denis Parent ... Himself (archive footage)
Michel Romanoff Michel Romanoff ... Himself (archive footage)


Bertrand Tavernier has always been fascinated by the songs which are heard in the movies .He points out that many actors such as Fernandel came from music hall.And some French directors were also lyric writers: René Clair, Sacha Guitry, Jean Boyer and Julien Duvivier .Actually ,the second part of the documentary is thoroughly devoted to Duvivier.And during this unusually long tribute,Tavernier does the great artist justice,dissecting his movies ,as Ingmar Bergman reportedly used to do. Written by dbdumonteil

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23 December 2017 (France) See more »

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Sing this all together:God bless Duvivier!
25 December 2017 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Part 1: the songs. Bertrand Tavernier has always been fascinated by the songs since he saw the "actors" playing female roles break into "La Marseillaise"in Renoir's "La Grande Illusion".Actors often came from music hall:Fernandel ,Suzy Delair (and her infectious "Avec Son Tralala " in "Quai Des Orfèvres " ,Bourvil (and his deliciously dumb song in "La Ferme Du Pendu").Other actors were occasionally Chanteurs :,particularly the wonderful Danielle Darrieux who could have been a talented Chanteuse,if she had not opted for cinema and stage .BT also points out that the directors themselves were also lyric writers:Sacha Guitry, René Clair, Jean Boyer...Compositor Van Parys's imitation of Michel Simon and Arletty in "Comme De Bien Entendu " (in "Circonstances Atténuantes" ) is worth the price of admission .BT also treats us to the delights of the Alida Valli /Georges Wilson waltz in Colpi's "Une Aussi Longue Absence " and of the priceless Moreau/Bardot duet in Malle's "Viva Maria" ;with Demy's "Les Demoiselles De Rochefort ,we enter another field : the musical ,influenced by the American classics. Julien Duvivier was also a lyric writer;Gabin's "Quand On'S Promène Au Bord De L'Eau " in "la Belle Equipe" has remained an all time classic.This first part is relatively short,giving Duvivier the lion's share.

Part 2: Julien Duvivier!!! There's so much admiration on my part that I now enter a territory where commentary becomes almost purely subjective.Suffice to say, in these 35 minutes,in an admirably succinct style, BT did it all and did it right. It took him time to appreciate this huge work,often erratic ,almost always pessimistic and darker than the darkest of American Films Noirs (about the whipping scene in "Voici Le Temps Des Assassins ",he comments :it makes American thrillers look like fairy tales) for people who still do not consider Duvivier a true Auteur,he draws a parallel between the Passion (the populace mistreating Christ) and Monsieur Hire (Michel Simon)surrounded by a hostile crowd in the mind-boggling "Panique" . Duvivier had a bad reputation on the sets ,he would reportedly scare the actresses;but BT told us it was just a facade : the man was shy ,self-conscious ,always fearing of being a failure.He is represented in the sprawling "Sous Le Ciel De Paris " by the medicine student (the extraordinary scene of the obsessive ticking of the clocks).

His innovations were numerous :the oblique shots in "Carnet De Bal" and in "La Fête A Henriette " ; the former shows a waltz ,filmed backward ,including the music;the latter tells a story which does not exist when the movie begins.

He did create Gabin (along with Renoir) but his favorite actor in the thirties was Harry Baur ,who was in his first talkie "David Golder" and in the underrated "Les 5 gentlemen Maudits " ;although the latter is far-fetched to a fault,Duvivier would film it on location in Morroco in 1931 when many of his colleagues were still filming adaptations of stage dramas.

BT shows another side of Duvivier: he can feel sympathy for his victims :Gabrielle Dorziat and Madeleine Ozeret in "La Fin Du Jour ,his fin De decade masterpiece.But it's the harrowing sequence of Frehel singing with herself on a record ,with tears rolling on her face ,which shows Duvivier's compassion best in "Pépé Le Moko".

BT proves us ,with a masterful assurance ,by showing us side by side the ending of "Pepe Le Moko" and of its American version ("Algiers") that remakes cannot hold a candle to the original.

Duvivier was a worn-out man in the sixties;without mentioning any names,criticism had shattered his health ."when he died in a car crash ,BT says ,he was just "skin and bone" ;and he adds:" he did not deserve such a fate ;now I feel more friendship,more admiration and more tenderness for him".So do I!

It' s the only episode ,in BT's absorbing series ,that brought tears to my eyes.

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