Sacrifice d'honneur (1935)

  |  Drama, War

Sacrifice d'honneur (1935) Poster

In a time of national emergency, the wife of the Captain of a French battleship finds that her former lover is now the her husband's first officer. Her attempts to sort out this situation get mixed in with shipwreck and court martial.


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3 December 2019 | Mozjoukine
Accomplished French naval melodrama
This apparently edition of the much filmed stage piece can more than hold its place in competition with thirties A French feature melodramas like Accusé leve-toi, Esquadrille and Double crime sur le ligne Maginot. It makes an intriguing comparison with The Woman from Monte Carlo, the Warners version of a few years earlier which used Walter Huston and Lil Dagoner in the parts played by Francen and Anabella. Surprisingly the French film is easily the better and more polished production though the American film's down beat ending has more conviction.

Marcel l'Herbier was an uneven director but here, as with l'Argent or Perfum de la dame en noir, he was right on top of his material, with a great cast (Pierre Renoir is particularly excellent) and a script which works on ironing out the piece's implausibilities and delivers it in gleaming Jules Kruger lighting, against an authentic naval background which constantly impresses and may well have been the patriotic motive behind the production.

Francen declaring in court "The dead witnesses are the vindication of my honor as a French Naval Officer" deserves a cheer. He's less plausible claiming to be 46 as the love interest of Anabella, glamorous in her evening gown with the lily bodice and other high fashion outfits. L'Herbier and Spaak needed to put in as much effort on their unlikely union as they did on the ship at sea stuff to make this work.

This one is a fascinating piece of cinema history as well as a fun night at the movies.

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Release Date:

1 December 1938



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