Pierre Chenal made this gem a scant two years after La Foire aux chimeres which a good friend of mine would probably argue is his masterpiece - and I would probably second his opinion - and that translates (in my book, at least) to two exceptional films shot back-to- back. Chenal is very much in Claude Autant-Lara country here with his anti-Church, anti-Army film and that is no bad thing. Not everyone, of course, will have read or even be aware of the source material, a delicious satirical novel by Gilbert Chevalier but should they do so they will find it complements the film to a fare-thee-well and vice versa. Marcel Pagnol was no slouch when it came to peopling small towns/villages with wonderfully colourful cross-sections of human life but he'd be hard put to better Chenals' Clochemerle, a town with as rich a population as you will find anywhere, charged with the task of finding a suitable memorial to the honored dead of World War One (the film is set in 1923) and coming up with the very French solution of a public urinal. This is merely a catalyst for a series of brilliant chain reactions including the impregnation of a local maid by the village idiot, the calling out of the Gallic equivalent of the National Guard and that's just for starters; a wonderfully rich bouillabaisse of a movie.