Roger Laroque, an honest industrialist, is the victim of a criminal machination by Julia de Noirville, his possessive and jealous mistress allied to the perfidious Paul Luversan, meant to ... See full summary »
It was the fourth of five versions of an old melodrama from the nineteenth century (apart from Cayatte's two were made by De Baroncelli in the early thirties and Riccardo Freda in 1966 starring Georges Guéret and Irène Pappas).Generally critics favor Freda over Cayatte but at least the cast is as good here.
"Roger La Honte " (=Roger -Shame)was influenced by Hugo's "les Miserables" -the last picture recalls Jean Valjean taking Cosette away from the Thenardier's inn- and its follow-up "La Revanche de Roger La Honte " by Dumas's "Le Comte de Monte Cristo" .But ROGER La Honte ,which is melodramatic to a fault (in five minutes the hero learns the death of his wife and of his best friend also his defense counsel and his mistress's husband!Like in "the long black veil" Roger,accused of murder cannot reveal the truth cause he was in the arms of his best friend's wife.
The trial is nevertheless the best moment of the film ,particularly the scene between the defendant and his young daughter,there is really a special chemistry between them.As Cayatte was himself a lawyer it is not surprising;like in some of his earlier works the so-called literary one,there are plenty of signs which predates his "justice for all" second period ("Justice Est Faite " "Le Glaive et La Balance" etc etc etc).
The film owes a lot to its splendid cast: Lucien Coedel,as the unfortunate hero (whose fate recalls that of Louise Fortier ,"la Porteuse de Pain" another contemporary melodrama) ,Maria Casarès as the mistress burning with a desire of revenge ,Paul Bernard as the unscrupulous dandy Luversan ,Jean Tissier ,Louis Salou ,all are excellent and make "Roger la Honte" an entertaining movie.
The last picture reads :"to be followed by "la Revanche de Roger La Honte " coming soon in the theaters.Oddly ,critics generally like the sequel whereas they -unfairly- dismiss the first installment as boring.It is not.