Madame Sans-Gêne (1941)

  |  Comedy, Drama, History

Madame Sans-Gêne (1941) Poster

The ordeals of a crude washerwoman in the chic court of Napoleon the First;La Maréchale Lefèvre ,a former launderer who followed the emperor in many of his campaigns is the laughing stock ... See full summary »


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19 May 2020 | brogmiller
| Dirty linen.
The eminent French tragedienne Gabrielle Rejane created the role of Sardou's 'Madame Sans-Gene' in 1893 and later committed it to film and although extant I doubt if any of us has or will ever see it. The same would probably apply to the silent version with Gloria Swanson. Both Nini Marshall and Sophia Loren give spirited performances in films by Maurer and Christian-Jaque but by far the most satisfying is that of Arletty in this film of underrated director Roger Richebe. This was a creatively rich period for Arletty culminating in 'Children of Paradise'. Her subsequent fall from grace has been well documented. She is simply magnificent in this as a laundress who is married to a Marshall of France but whose lack of finesse is a constant embarassment and a source of ridicule. She very cleverly helps Napoleon Buonaparte avoid a scandal involving his wife Marie-Louise and prevents an unjust execution thereby being restored to favour. There is wonderful support from Aime Clariond, Maurice Escande, Henri Nattier and not forgetting Albert Dieudonne in his second outing as Napoleon. A marvellous adaptation by Jean Aurenche directed and acted with typical French style and panache. A real treat for devotees of Arletty and a great discovery for those coming to this incomparable artiste for the first time.

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