Jean Gremillon During the Occupation [Criterion Collection] [3 Discs] [DVD]

Scarcely known beyond the boundaries of his native France, Jean Grémillon curiously began his career as a classical violinist, but then transitioned to film directing across a broad spectrum of styles and forms. Three of Grémillon's most intriguing films emerged during the Nazi occupation of France, and appear back to back in this set from the Criterion Collection Eclipse series. It begins with the 1941 Remorques, with Jean Gabin as a tugboat captain torn between his beloved wife and the sensual lure of a mystery woman who emerges during a heroic mission. Next up is the 1943 Lumière d'été, about two women and three men whose romantic intrigues regress into hostility and violence. Finally, the 1944 Le Ciel est à vous stars Madeleine Renaud as a housewife and mother who begins a fantastic career as a long-distance aviatrix.
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Lumière d'Été
The French upper class is chastised in this socially conscious drama that centers on a naive young woman who travels to a mountain resort to be with her fiancé. Expecting a romantic weekend, she is terribly disappointed to discover that the wealthy patrons aresoulless vessels living only to suck the life out those less fortunate. She is really shocked to discover that her own lover has become one of these useless dilettantes who unfeelingly destroys their relationship when he finds it boring. The young woman then meets a man who works on a local dam. It is he that instills real values in her and saves her from a greedy fellow who wants her. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Le Ciel Est à Vous
The all-purpose title Woman Who Dared was trotted out for the American release of Jean Gremillon's Le Ciel et a Vous. Madeline Renaud stars as Therese, the wife of aviator Pierre Gauthier (Charles Vanel). Seeking an outlet for her own adventurous spirit, Therese decides to become a pilot herself. Weaving in and out of the proceedings dispensing worldly-wise philosophy is a piano teacher played by Jean Debucourt. Filmed in 1944, Woman Who Dared made it to American shores five years later. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Originally filmed and released in 1941 as Remorques, this heavy-breathing French melodrama was distributed stateside in 1946 as Stormy Waters. The film was a typical Jean Gabin vehicle, replete with two-fisted action, star-crossed romance and intense emotional turbulence. Gabin plays Laurent, a salvage-boat captain who rescues a merchant vessel from a storm-tossed sea. The vessel's far-from-grateful captain (Jean Marchat) manages to skip without paying Laurent his salvage money, leaving behind his wife Catherine (Michele Morgan). Tending to Catherine's injuries until they reach port, Laurent falls in love with the woman, despite the fact that he is already married to the seriously ill Yvonne (Madeleine Renaud). It takes a lot of doing, but Laurent eventually ends his affair and allows his own wife to expire believing that he's been 100% faithful. An enormous success in France, Stormy Waters was picked up for American distribution by MGM, which surprisingly buried the film in its second-string houses. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Madeleine Renaud
    Madeleine Renaud - Cri-Cri
  • Image coming soon
    Paul Bernard - Patrice le Verdier
  • Pierre Brasseur
    Pierre Brasseur - Roland
  • Madeleine Robinson
    Madeleine Robinson - Michele
  • Image coming soon
    Marcel Lévesque

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