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  • Warning: Spoilers
    The unmarried mother is a permanent feature in Pagnol's cinema:see his famous trilogy Fanny/Marius /Cesar OR Angèle."La fille du puisatier" is more of the same but it has Raimu and to a lesser degree Charpin and Josette Day ,the future star of Cocteau's "la Belle et la Bête".Raimu was so great an actor that any movie he is in makes all worthwhile.And Pagnol's poetry,his use of Provence landscapes are strong assets too.

    The story is very melodramatic but still manages to keep you interested till the very end. Handsome soldier gets Patricia pregnant before going' to war;and the boy's father is not prepared to accept it.She's not worthy of his offspring.But alas,the courageous military man is killed.And he was the old man's only child.Now it's Raimu (Patricia's father) who has the upper hand.But it's not over far from it..

    "La fille du puisatier" is excellent Pagnol stuff.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Pagnol is on record as saying that his stories are essentially simple about simple people and here he gives us Marius under another name; Pascal hopes that his daughter Patricia will eventually marry his assistant Felipe despite the fact that Felipe is on the cusp of middle age and not the soundest bucket in the well. Patricia however falls for Jacques so much so that she winds up slightly pregnant as both men leave for the front. Eventually they hear that Jacques has made the ultimate sacrifice for France and it looks like wedding bells for Felipe and Patricia but wait ... who's that on the horizon, surely not Martin Guerre. Okay, it's hoke and we've seen it before - let's face it, Pagnol himself got a Trilogy out of this one - but as always it's not what you say but how you tell it and WHO you get to tell it and here Pagnol got the best in the business, Raimu as Pascal, Fernandel as Felipe and Charpin as Mr. Mazel, father of Jacques. These guys could read The Farmer's Almanac to camera and make it sound good. Yet another from Our Man In Scandinavia to whom much thanks.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A full-fledged Pagnol masterpiece - Marius or La Femme du boulanger - is as good as movies get. So a lesser Pagnol masterpiece is still worth watching. As the others have remarked, there is a lot of melodrama to this movie. But the best scenes rise above that. Orson Welles supposedly called Raimu the greatest actor in movies, and I'm not about to question that. The scene where he goes to the Mazel family to ask Jacques' parents to convince their son to marry his daughter and the subsequent scene where he sends his pregnant but unwed daughter away are as deeply moving as movies will ever get. Raimu gets more out of underacting than a hundred actors could get out of overacting. Charpin gets to play nasty as well as repentant, and he is good at both. It's a long movie - perhaps Pagnol needed a good editor; perhaps - but it never drags once it focuses on the real story: not Patricia's love for Jacques - that is just run-of-the-mill melodrama, the sort of thing we made in this country with Stanwyck and Davis and Crawford - but the emotions of the three parents, all of whom lose their children at one point in the story.

    This is not Marius or La Femme du boulanger, but it's still very much worth watching.
  • The story goes and one sincerely hopes it is not apocryphal, that having made the pilgrimage to France to meet Raimu, fellow genius Orson Welles began to cry when told by Marcel Pagnol that he was too late as Raimu had died. Raimu was greatly respected by many of the finest actors as well as being adored by the public, the national mourning at his death being equalled only by that of Edith Piaf and Yves Montand. Outside his native country his fame and reputation rests on his portrayal of Cesar in the marvellous Marseilles trilogy, the last of which was directed by Pagnol and as Aimable in Pagnol's sublimest of films 'The Baker's Wife'. There was undoubtedly a 'simpatico' between Raimu and Pagnol which enabled him to reach the heights as an actor and although 'The Well-Digger's Daughter' may not be in quite the same league as their other collaborations, his performance as Pascal is stupendous and again allows him to utilise his early comedic experience as well as display the most extraordinary pathos. The same comments might apply to co-star Fernandel. Although most recognisable internationally as the priest in the Don Camillo series, the five films he made with Pagnol, of which this is the fourth, gifted him his greatest roles and represent his best work by far. As the unmarried mother, a familiar character in Pagnol's films(!) we have the lovely Josette Day. Her relationship with Pagnol was by all accounts more than just professional and although very touching she does not quite convince as a naive eighteen-year old. She went on to excel of course in 'Beauty and the Beast'. Pagnol regular Ferdinand Charpin is as always good value and Willy Factorovitch is again behind the camera. Pagnol makes no concessions to the viewer as the piece comes in at just under two and a half hours and definitely comes into the catagory of 'filmed theatre' with no intermission! Seventy-years on came the remake directed by and starring the admirable Daniel Auteuil. This obviously has greater production values and Auteuil is splendid as Pascal but the devastating simplicity and humanity of the original cannot be matched.
  • Pagnol's movies have to be heard in French, to have the pleasure to hear and fully appreciate this melodious accent. This time, the story focuses on 2 mains families, one poor and simple and one rich and more, let's say, cautious, in particular times as the story takes place in 1939 and 1940 - the movie being shot in 1940 and released at the end of that year.

    The movie is a bit too long but rewards us with some crunchy scenes and 2 of the best French actors, Raimu and Fernandel. The rest of the cast does not reach the same levels (with these 2, the challenge is not easy) and the choice of the leading actress did not convince me as a 18y young girl. The scenario is so so, but still displays Pagnol love for simple, modest people.