Fanny (1932)

Fanny (1932)

“You can’t buy a girl — especially not one like Fanny.”

After her boyfriend Marius (Pierre Fresnay) goes away to sea, Fanny (Orane Demazis) discovers she’s pregnant. With support from her mother (Alida Rouffe) and Marius’s father, Cesar (Raimu), Fanny agrees to marry her older suitor, Honore (Fernand Charpin), and allow him to be the father of her child — but what will happen when Marius learns about the baby?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Father and Child
  • French Films
  • Play Adaptations
  • Pregnancy
  • Waterfront
  • Widows and Widowers

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “second part of Marcel Pagnol’s Marseilles Trilogy” — “falling between Marius (1931) and Cesar (1936)” — “picks up exactly where Marius left off”; indeed, it’s a true sequel without any gap. He notes that once “again the film succeeds because of the believable, lovable characters rather than the direction [by Marc Allegret], which is theatrical,” and points out that “Raimu is splendid, and Charpin, Demazis, and Fresnay make strong impessions.”

Peary also reminds us that “Jacques Demy borrowed the basic plot (eliminating the Cesar character and making the boy a wartime soldier rather than a sailor) for his 1964 musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and that “the 1961 film Fanny” — starring Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier — “was derived from the entire trilogy.”

I’m a fan of these gently humorous stories (though I’ll admit to watching them at a slightly sped up pace). This second entry is particularly poignant, given the candid discussions taking place between all parties, and how excited Charpin is to finally be a father after so many years. I appreciate that seafaring Fresnay is gone for most of the movie, allowing this portion of the narrative to focus on Demazis’s decisions on behalf of her child. While there is — of course — heartbreak and compromise to be had, we also see plenty of collaboration and joy, making this film more uplifting than one would expect.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Fernand Charpin as Honore Panisse
  • Raimu as Cesar Olivier
  • Orane Demazis as Fanny
  • Atmospheric sets and cinematography

Must See?
Yes, as a compelling second entry in Pagnol’s trilogy.


  • Foreign Gem


One thought on “Fanny (1932)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see.

    More or less, my feeling about this second entry is similar to that of the first. ~though I’m not sure why Peary would call director Allegret’s direction “theatrical”. Overall, it’s better than what Korda managed with ‘Marius’. Allegret sets a tone that is more natural, all things considered, and the result is a film with better acting in it.

    But then there’s the script – which rambles as much as ‘Marius’ does and it’s too long for its story. I’ll concede that there were moments throughout, here and there, that I found compelling but the film builds to a semi-hysteria in its final 10 minutes and the wackiness of the melodrama therein wore me out.

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