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Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

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charliechaplinfan
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Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 9th, 2011, 5:05 am

When thinking about the foreign language films that have meant the most to me, the Fanny Trilogy came out at the top of all films French. I've only seen it once but was soon swept up ito the story, the grittiness of the story and swept into the lives of the characters. Cesar is the character that really resonates with me, I don't think I have a favorite of the three films but have decided I'm going to watch them again.

By sheer coincidence I watched three quarters of Fanny last night, this is what I left on another thread. A bit unconventional to start with the remake but I think a few of us have seen one version and loved them.

Last night we started watching Fanny. I have mixed feelings about Fanny. Chris and I started watching it last night, or should I say Chris turned off his computer to watch. It does grate with me, I wish someone else had directed it, the lovers are a bit too sweet, Leslie Caron does not look like she sells fish for a living. The highlight for me in both films is Cesar, I love the character, a loving father with foibles but I realised as I watched last night, the voice of reason. We watched up to the point when Marius comes back and he visits Mrs Panisse and Cesar comes round to stop the youngsters doing anything, he arrives just before Panisse comes back, he's missed the train again, he always misses it because he thinks that this is the night Marius comes back. When he tells Marius how much that baby means to him, how he can take Fanny, he won't hold her but can never have little Cesar, it tears at the heart strings. Cesar is the voice of right, Marius has no right to the child, it was his before it was born and was illegitamate but when it was born it was Panisse's. Cesar and Fanny gave their love but Panisse gave the most. It's Panisse and Cesar who make this film or Boyer and Chevalier. Head to head, arguing about Marius, even though Marius had insulted Panisse very early on in the movie by calling him a lecher, Cesar's back was up and the stood nose to nose, only to play cards later that night. We have to watch the rest tonight.

Funnily enough at the beginning of the film Chris thought Panisse was a dirty old man and it was only because I knew the story that I didn't feel it too but it didn't play too uncomfortably but it was a tad overdone to show Panisse in an unfavorable light.
Fanny has it's highlights and they are Boyer and Chevalier and the photography of Jack Cardiff. Boyer's Cesar is not that different from Raimu's and Raimu's performance was superb in the original. The two lovers are too sweet but I think this is because I've seen the original.
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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 9th, 2011, 5:12 pm

We finished Fanny here's what was written on another thread

I watched the last part of Fanny, it ties the ends up much neater and quicker than the trilogy, with Panisse dictating a letter to Cesar for Marius asking him to marry Fanny. For me the film's fun is in the relationship between the older men and Fanny's mother. Panisse honoured Fanny and the fact she didn't feel passion for him by seeing a lady in his shop. The death bed scenes are funny and poignant but not at all realistic, whilst Cesario is missing and Panisse is dying have to be taken as pure entertainment. I don't think the build up of the relationship between Fanny and Marius is as strong as the trilogy and it's more tongue in cheek but it's fun.

I'm looking forward to revisiting the original.
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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby Ann Harding » March 14th, 2011, 5:43 am

I haven't seen the American remake of Fanny. I am very happy with the original triology with such a fantastic cast that I don't feel I need to see any other version. BTW there is also another version: Port of Seven Seas (1938, James Whale) with Wallace Beery, Maureen O'Sullivan and Frank Morgan. I just shudder thinking about it...

I know that you might find the original actors lacking in glamour. But, that's precisely the point! They are ordinary people and Pagnol selected those actors for the play because they were talented performers and not just pretty faces. I read recently an interview of Orane Demazis. She said that when Paramount produced Marius in 1931, they didn't want her, Pierre Fresnay and Raimu. The producers wanted big box-office names such as Victor Francen (for the Raimu part), Henri Garat (insted of Fresnay) and Marcelle Chantal (for Fanny). Believe me, if they had produced the film with those, it would have been a terrible turkey. They are all 'better looking', but totally insuitable for the parts.

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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 14th, 2011, 1:56 pm

The Fanny Trilogy wouldn't be half as good if glamour had been injected into it. Fanny has colour, good actors and glamour but ultimately, the trilogy wins hands down for me.
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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 16th, 2011, 4:07 pm

I'm revisiting The Fanny Trilogy, I've watched Marius and I'm half way through Fanny. I'm really enjoying them although I'm having a bad couple of days, I'll expand in a day or to. They are some of my favorite films.
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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 17th, 2011, 3:41 pm

I've finished watching the Fanny trilogy. these are the main differences I could see between the two productions in terms of story and portrayal.

The character closest to the trilogy is that of Cesar, Panisse is more jocular and humourous, Fanny is prettier, more glamourous and Marius, here's the big difference. In Fanny he never grows up but in the trilogy he's had to. Cesariot is an adult in the trilogy but a boy in Fanny. The age difference between Fanny and Panisse is greater in Fanny. I'm going to give it some thought and type up the movies which I've thoroughly enjoyed over the last couple of days.

The strength's of this great trilogy are many, the script, very wordy, with many parts, the characters themselves, how they relate to one another, the close knit locale. The actors, both leading and supporting all perfectly cast and delivering wonderful performances.

Marius

I think the first film of the series starts quite slowly, it doesn't encourage those who are new to the delights of early French cinema to stick with it, the pace is slow as it goes setting the scene, catching the port and then the waterfront. More do we care at first for our characters, Cesar is prickly, Marius disinterested and everyone seems to squabble very heatedly, not like the characters in other French movies I've watched. This only struck me on second viewing, they behave more like hot headed latins, quick to anger and defend themselves, quick to perceive a slight whether intended or not, friends bicker constantly and father's toward sons, well that's where Cesar really polishes his tongue. In time the characters emerge, with their foibles, their frailties and their humanity. Marius loves the sea, he's drawn to it, he would have left but he loves Fanny, not that the love is declared. In Cesar, Fanny says to Cesariot how she used to pretend to sleep with her straw hat pulled over her eyes and she would watch Marius watching her as she slept. There's real sweetness between the young couple that isn't spoken but Fanny knows, she's always known. She is glad when he doesn't go the first time but she can see how he is torn and lets him go, lying to him about a marriage to Panisse, one that has been offered but turned down.

Marius isn't a little boy, he's a man, struggling by his longing for the sea and Fanny, the two conflict, he makes his choice, he wants to stay and marry him but fanny believes that his love if the sea means he won't stay so he leaves because he believes she won't marry him. It's the first of many emotional rollercoaster's when he leaves and Fanny distracts Cesar who proudly shows her his room which he will vacate for the couple.
Last edited by charliechaplinfan on March 17th, 2011, 4:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 17th, 2011, 3:55 pm

It isn't just that he breaks Fanny's heart but Cesar's too. I found it hard to believe Horst Buchholz's longing but Fresnay plays it so superbly as the young Marius and Orane Demazis plays Fanny with the reckless love of the young, knowing what she's doing but never expecting him to get on the boat. She's the right mix of fraility with backbone, determination, morals. In her story she shines

Fanny

Fanny starts with Fanny fainted upstairs in Cesar's room, Cesar carries her through the street to her home. Panisse has seen what has happened and daren't tell Cesar. This film is about the loss of Marius, the winners and losers and the start of plans that make Marius an outcast. Honorine, Fanny's mother is willing to marry Fanny to Panisse without telling him that Fanny is pregnant but Fanny is too moral, Panisse, takes Fanny and her her unborn child. The marriage is agreed, until Cesar hears of Panisse's proposing again and tells Panisse he is a dirty old man. The exchanges between the older men in both films are a joy. Cesar is fighting because Fanny is Marius's fiancee but has to back down when he knows the reason but only when the child is to be called Cesar and he will be godfather. So Cesar seals his son's fate, for all the right reasons.

Cesar is one of my favorite characters in film, he's very moral, or thinks he is. He loves his son but replaces him with Cesariot and defends Panisse to Marius when Marius comes home on leave, he takes Marius away with him and tells him to leave. The meeting of the two lovers is another emotional rollercoaster, when Cesar holds Marius as fanny declares her love, that's a powerful moment, that's the actor's portrayal and it's difficult to know which one to look at, Cesar, Marius or Fanny. Someone has to lose out from this arrangement of circumstances and how can you argue against the love of a man like Panisse.


Cesar to follow
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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 18th, 2011, 4:13 pm

Cesar

Cesar starts some eighteen years on at Panisse's death bed. The first half hour is taken up with the priest visiting the dying man and having him confess, it pokes fun at the Church, there's a lot of humour in this section, like in all the movies, I just wonder if this section was appreciated by everyone. Panisse rallies but we find out shortly after that he dies. Marius has a garage in Toulon, one that has been guaranteed by Panisse. The priest has urged that Cesario now a boy of 18 be told of his parentage, this is left to Fanny. Cesario is the only actor who jars in the production, I think it's only in the early scenes and it is perhaps intentional because he has been sent away to be educated. When Fanny tells him, his reaction isn't that of the other Marseilleis, he's upset but doesn't hate or verbally abused Fanny (not like his Grandfather here). When he goes to Cesar and calls him Grandfather, that is a much more powerful scene but he upsets his Grandfather just as his father had. Cesario goes in search of Marius but doesn't tell him who he is and is taken as a reporter and played a trick upon, one that involves being told Marius is a drug dealer, to which he says he's not a criminal just shady. Fanny will have none of it, it must belies. Thankfully all is cleared up whe Marius's sidekick comes to find Cesario and discovers him to be Marius's son.

What ensues, the meeting with Marius, seeing Cesar after 13 years and Fanny after 18 years is powerful. He has been slandered (his father had got his wires crossed about some things) but Fanny had never had a bad thing to say. It's realised by all that Cesar was not fair to Marius, he discarded him for his son and Marius has felt an outcast ever since. It's another gut wrenching scene, perfectly performed. An afterword with Fanny and Marius meeting only to be intruded upon by Cesar again, but thankfully this time only for good.

After watching the whole thing I wanted to start right back at the beginning again to enjoy the humour, drama, grittiniess and wonderful characters from Pagnol's Marsielles Trilogy.
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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 18th, 2011, 4:25 pm

I came away from the modern Fanny liking Cesar the most, from the trilogy, I was torn between Marius and Cesar and although it is essentially a love story, I was as concerned about the father and son being reconciled, so evident was Cesar's love for Marius when Marius wasn't with him and that early scene when they talk of being fond of one another. Cesar knows Marius comes and goes through the window and pretends to have been reading, remember the scene with the belt the next morning, a woman's honour is like a match, it can only be used once.

Cesar was hurt by Marius leaving, his pride that he felt in his son and his growing excitement about Fanny and Marius's betrothal was taken from him and he couldn't admit his hurt or his love for Marius. He helped in the decision that changed Marius's life, did he not know his son would have come back? But Honorine was becoming jumpy. Then he denied him again but intruding and stopping the 'children' before they did something they regretted and by siding against his own flesh and blood about Cesario's future. He had transferred all his love to the growing boy, no one had known about Marius's second visit until he told Cesario and then we find out that he had got the wrong end of the stick about some of the information he'd heard. Both felt the other had rejected him. That was as big a tragedy as the love of Marius and Fanny, The shame of the trilogy is that we don't completely see Marius and Cesar being reunited, we see Marius accusing his father of all that is true and his father, head bowed, accepting it. We do see at the end that they are friends again.

Another rich part of the drama was the men who played cards, the bickering, the cheating, the philosophising, the posturing are great.
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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby Ann Harding » March 19th, 2011, 11:30 am

It's been quite a while since I went through all three films. I have seen them countless times and always with the same pleasure. A lot of it comes from the lovely humour, the charming accent and dialect.
I think, Alison, you sum up very well the main attractive power of the three films. The timelessness of the story, the top-notch cast (leads and supporting players), the humanity emanating from the characters make it totally compulsive viewing. I always root for César, Marius, Fanny and Panisse. It's quite heart-warming to realise that the story manages to come across even with subs.
I wished more Pagnol pictures were available on DVD. Regain, Angèle, Le Schpountz and La Femme du Boulanger are all great pictures worthy of a DVD release.

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Re: Fanny and The Fanny Trilogy

Postby charliechaplinfan » March 19th, 2011, 3:35 pm

I had thought by watching them that they must have been filmed back to back but from the imdb it looks like they weren't but filmed in different years, they certainly have the feeling of continuity.

These films come across very well subtitled, even I can tell it's a different accent. One thing I noticed was that the clothes don't really change, the films span twenty years, that is a good thing, to have them dressed in Edwardian outfits would have altered the styles.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin


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