“I can’t bear to look at him — I hate him!”
A woman (Valentine Tessier) married to a dull country doctor (Pierre Renoir) has an affair with a womanizer (Fernand Fabre), then with a law student (Daniel Lecourtois), all while borrowing excessive amounts of money from a lender (Le Vigan) who eventually demands to be paid.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- French Films
- Historical Drama
- Jean Renoir Films
Peary lists 20 out of 30 sound-era films by French auteur Jean Renoir in his GFTFF, including this relatively early entry in his oeuvre — the second cinematic adaptation of Gustave Flaubert’s once-scandalous novel Madame Bovary (later filmed by Vincente Minnelli in 1949 with Jennifer Jones). Tessier (in her early 40s) seems a bit old to be playing young Emma, but nicely portrays her consternation at finding herself in a marriage which offers her no satisfaction whatsoever.
Since I’m not a fan of Flaubert’s novel (or Emma Bovary herself), I can’t speak to personal appreciation or enjoyment of the storyline — but Renoir’s strong directorial hand is in continuous evidence, making it at the very least visually interesting.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine direction by Renoir
- Atmospheric cinematography
No, unless you’re curious.