Given the very poor users ' rating and given the fact that only a 70 min copy is available ,it's doubtful people might want to see Jacqueline Audry's take on a child's book which is a classic in France (in Russia I was told the young students who learn French frequently read the Comtesse de Segur's book, for this writer was born a Russian).
The credits read "inspired by Segur's novel" so don't expect a faithful academic adaptation.Actually only the first twenty-five minutes come directly from the original story.The book was not that easy to transfer to the screen for it's not a linear story.Jacqueline Audry,instead of treating the chapters one after another-as Jean-Claude Brialy did in his late seventies listless adaptation-,blended several episodes :the doll,the tea,the donkey,etc .She added one character ,Mademoiselle (Marguerite Moreno),who epitomizes authority ,punishment and submission.Madame de Rean ,a not very kind character in the novel,became a sweet mother ,under Mademoiselle's thumb.
Jacqueline Audry,and it's the first thing to bear in mind,was the only
French female director of the fifties.It was long before Agnes Varda .Only Ida Lupino dared to do what she did ,and like Lupino,her main subject was woman and early feminism.It makes her work all the more precious to us now.I loved Segur's novels but they were reactionary to the core.
Hence the second part which happens when Sophie has become an adult.It is probably the reason why people hate this movie.Cousin Paul,the virtuous boy,has turned into a revolutionary man,on the 1848 barricades .Sophie's mother being dead,Mademoiselle wants her to marry a notable's son.Audry's Sophie wants to venture off the beaten track.When she was a child,she was already a rebel.Unlike Segur's character she will not quiet down when she grows up.Audry laughs at the perfect little girls and their ridiculous song .The last picture is a transparent metaphor of woman's lib well before it's become trendy as well as a spoof on the Prince Charming myth.
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