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Au Bonheur des Dames (1930)

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Synnove
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Postby Synnove » April 13th, 2008, 9:09 am

Another point, Emile Zola was describing in his novel -written in 1883- the creation of the first department store ever: Le Bon Marché created in 1852 in Paris. The film has transposed the story to the 1920s when department stores were already numerous in Paris...


I think that it still works as a story about current events, since this thing is still going on. It has been a slow, ongoing process. The big stores are even now swallowing up smaller businesses, usually businesses with more charm and individual style. The coffee shops will probably disappear because of Starbucks. I really hope not. I love old-fashioned Viennese style Cafés.

Even though I generally like happy endings, I could sense that that wasn't quite how the original story ended. And I might have respected an unhappy ending more if it was in keeping with the original. Still, it's a very lovely film. I love the style of it, very special and cinematic, for lack of a better word. I don't know if that explains at all what I sense in this film. There is so much attention to detail. It's very special.

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Ann Harding
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Postby Ann Harding » April 13th, 2008, 10:51 am

Funnily enough, the novel has also the same happy ending. I say funnily because many Zola novels end extremely tragically.....
In the film it looks odd because the evolution of the characters are not shown like in the novel. :wink:

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Synnove
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Postby Synnove » April 13th, 2008, 11:50 am

Ah. I understand. I haven't read the novel, but it is on my list.

It is not always easy to adapt that to fit a film of reasonable length. I know that they apparently made an 8-hour adaptation of one of Zola's novels in the early 20s, but that isn't so commercial. The only way to sell that to an audience now would be in a mini-series, perhaps. Otherwise you have to accept that some things will be changed, or lost, in the film adaptation.

I guess the most important thing is that the original theme is intact... although one could argue with that. I tend to think the the characters are very important as well, but then again, I have the fan mentality.

feaito

Postby feaito » February 15th, 2009, 9:35 pm

Yesterday I watched this fantastic film thanks to Alison and I was mesmerized by its superb and impressive camera work. The introduction to the film is very enlightening and although the happy ending is faithful to Zola's novel it was the one aspect of the film that somehow did not work for me. The print is gorgeous, the score very unique, Dita Parlo's performance very touching and sincere. I was also impressed by the actress who played Dita's cousin and by the actor who played her uncle Baudin. There are so many poignant moments in this film: the demolition of the houses in front of the store; the death of two of the characters, when Baudin suffers a breakdown, etc. The scenes at the store (filmed in a studio) and the shots of the Galeries Lafayette are perfect. The film is so modern and avant-garde in so many ways. Definitely one of the best I've seen lately. I wonder how the sound version compared with this Silent version.

A winner!

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Ann Harding
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Postby Ann Harding » February 16th, 2009, 10:52 am

So glad you enjoyed that, Fernando! 8) Duvivier is a brilliant filmmaker. I haven't seen the 1941 talkie version, but I think it's completely different. I have to try to see this one. :wink:

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charliechaplinfan
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Postby charliechaplinfan » February 16th, 2009, 3:41 pm

It's a tremendous film, I'm glad you enjoyed it too Fernando.

I'm impressed by Dita Parlo, I've seen her in two other films, L'Atlante and La Grande Illusion. Love to see her in others too.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

Sweeney Todd
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Re: Au Bonheur des Dames (1930)

Postby Sweeney Todd » November 3rd, 2012, 5:14 am

Dita Parlo was also in "Mademoiselle Docteur" (both French and English versions, the French one (1936) directed by GW Pabst stars Pierre Fresnay, Louis Jouvet, Viviane Romance, Charles Dullin, Pierre Blanchar - the British one (1937) has John Loder, Erich von Stroheim and Claire Luce).

Her last movie, after a hiatus of 15 years, was in 1969, with "La dame de pique", from the story by Pushkin ("The Queen of Spades"). I recorded it years ago from French television.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: Au Bonheur des Dames (1930)

Postby charliechaplinfan » November 3rd, 2012, 2:50 pm

I really like Dita Parlo, she made some great movies.

Interestingly, Zola's novel has been filmed as a BBC mini series, I loved the novel, the silent film does retain the feel of the novel but the BBC mini series transported to London failed to ignite for me.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


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