La maternelle (1949)

  |  Comedy

1948. Madeleine is the headmistress of a kindergarten in Ménilmontant. Dr Libois, the school doctor, is very close to her heart. When Rose, a new helper comes to the school, Libois is ... See full summary »


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20 April 2011 | dbdumonteil
The dawn of knowledge
The third version of "La Maternelle" after a silent movie in the twenties and its most famous remake in the thirties featuring Madeleine Renaud.

This one is pretty good and not unworthy of the Epstein movie.What's definitely lacking is magic ,there 's no equivalent of Renaud's extraordinary relationship with the pupils and of the sequence of the science lesson about a rabbit.To be fair,one can mention the scene when the young teacher replaces the tedious old schoolmistress and saves a lesson which was as boring as hell.

Blanchette Brunoy is very nice as the maid (who 's got enough degrees to be a teacher but hides them at first)in a kindergarten.Marie Déa is the headmistress ,and there's a rivalry between her and her employee because they're both in love with the doctor (who seems more or less the doctor of the school,which is unthinkable today;but it was a time people would not often consult);this jealousy was not present in the 1933 film.

The screenplay was not sweetened or cheapened :poverty,death and prostitution are still around in the late forties .The death of a child is particularly harrowing (the audience attends his death;in the other version ,it's just briefly mentioned ).

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