18 August 2015 | dbdumonteil
The spitting image of his father.
André Berthomieu made movies by the dozen;many French critics consider him such a geek that nobody wants to hear from him now;however ,even if he never made a masterpiece,by a long shot,some of his efforts are not devoid of interest : "Le Mort En Fuite" is a pleasant comedy;"En Légitime Défense" is an honest Film Noir.
"Gringalet" ,his melodramatic comedy from 1945, is often moving ,and looks like a fable ,à la Capra,relatively speaking of course."Le Portrait De Son Père" resumes the subject: an illegitimate son is mentioned when the notary reads a wealthy man's testament,much to the widow's anger.Worse ,this stepson is a rude peasant ,who thought his father had died a long time ago.
The posh lady is surrounded by snob parasites and despises the newcomer but her rebellious daughter (BB)makes friends with her half brother. As such is often the case in this kind of screenplay,the city is evil,a world with a fair percentage of money vampires whereas the country is sane ,a healthy mind in a healthy body :what (Saint) Paul (Jean Richard) says makes good sense and he reveals himself a first-class economist,turning round his dad's department store,"Les Galeries Parisiennes".He turns the place into a paradise where you feel good when you work,after saving sister BB from Saint-Germain Des Prés "hellish" cellars where they recite existentialist poems and where they drink all night .
A very naive fable,with an ending easy to guess.But really pleasant to Watch and well acted.
If Brigitte Bardot had followed her half brother's piece of advice,she would have remained a good girl instead of becoming French greatest sex symbol of all time.Her part is here closer to her debut ("Le Trou Normand") than to her sophomore performance ("Manina La Fille Sans Voile" ) in which the ungainly moth was in the process of metamorphosing into the luminous butterfly of Legend.