9 November 2012 | dbdumonteil
Mandrin was a friend to the Poor
There's several movies dealing with the life of Mandrin,the beloved brigand ,some kind of Robin Hood ,who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
Actually ,Mandrin was fighting against the farmers general who grew richer,in the name of the king ,and lived off the people:hence his popularity among the humble people and Voltaire's admiration (the writer appears in the movie).
The movie,as often in the late forties/fifties ,was released in two parts ,thus doubling the price the audience had to pay to see the whole ;a three-hour movie was not profitable :one should note,however ,that Clouzot's "Le Salaire De La Peur" (1953) with a running time of 2h36min ,was released as a whole ,as the masterpiece of the French cinema "Les Enfants Du Paradis " (3hours) was.
The last pictures suggest that Mandrin was a forerunner of the French revolution ,which is going a bit too far ;in the movie,anyway ,it is not very convincing.The screenplay verges on pure melodrama with the nasty noble who kill the fair loyal "farmer general" and tries to latch on to his children's '(a son and a daughter ,in love with Mandrin) fortune and properties;the implausible plot includes blackmail,political tricks and Madame De Pompadour as the villainess. Mandrin ,the people hero is quickly forgotten and becomes the rescuer of the damsel in distress and of her unfortunate imprisoned brother.
No great name in the cast,all are forgotten today ,including the lead actor.
Mandrin's execution (the wheel,an atrocious torture against which Voltaire fought)is shown in the movie;his courage (not a single cry) was no legend:it was fact.
Entertaining ,if you are not too demanding.