12 October 2020 | ulicknormanowen
Orphans in the storm.
"Les deux gosses" ,which belongs to the exponential melodrama genre of the French nineteenth century looks like a cross between "les mystères de Paris" (Eugene Sue ) ,"sans famille " (Hector Malot ) and "les deux orphelines" (Adolphe D'Ennery which Griffith transferred to the screen as " orphans in the storm".)
The novel reached its peak of popularity in the silent era when several adaptations were made ,including an American one ("jealous husbands ", by Maurice Tourneur in 1923);the last remake to date is Italian (I Due derelitto).
Since , unlike the three other novels I mention above , "les deux gosses" is virtually forgotten today and it's sure easy to see why : who could tell such an implausible story, full of sudden new developments with so many coincidences the viewer has to pay attention if he wants to catch up with the complicated plot.
Fernand Rivers' version is rather flat and his directing is rather poor ,but it's the plot which matters:it bears all the qualities (who said scars?) of the old-fashioned melodrama ; it pits the luxury world of the aristocrats (just like in the three novels I mention) against the dregs of society , the desirable mansions where they call you "Monsieur Le Vicomte" and the seedy caravan where the parents are drunk most of the time and their brats are forced to beg (the hateful parents make sure one of their two boys cough -he suffers from TB , a recurrent feature of these days - so that he can count on the passer-by's pity .
The boy from a wealthy family is always torn away from his dear ones ;he often meets a mate who shares his terrible fate ; he is searched and eventually found by his true parents; but only the legitimate son will enjoy a viscount's life ;the pal will have to be content with pie in the sky.
There are plenty of guilty pleasures : "la limace "(the slog) and Zephirine (played by the excellent Marguerite Pierry ),obviously inspired by Sue' s "le Maitre D'Ecole " and "la Chouette " are efficient villains ; both boys are endearing (Jacques Tavoli (Fanfan) was featured in the first version of Pergaud 's "la guerre des boutons " renamed "la guerre des gosses" ),and their song (written by Vincent Scotto) is worthy of those of the "Les Miserables" musical .But the apex, a saint-sulpician monument, is the sublime moment when Claudinet joins his mom in Heaven ,the equivalent of the chanson realiste "les roses blanches".
You should watch this stuff without prejudice .