READING THE BEST: MARCEL PAGNOL
Critics everywhere consider this guy the best writer France ever had, though LES MISERABLES author VICTOR HUGO comes close. You'll remember the film "FANNY"? Leslie Caron, Charles Boyer? And the 2 films "MANON OF THE SPRING" &, JEAN DE FLORETTE Read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_de_Florette
The author of these stories, Marcel Pagnol (February 28, 1895 – April 18, 1974) had a man's true heart along with the rustic touch. He wrote about the passions of the simple man, the peasant or working class, usually. Pagnol was born in Aubagne, France. His father, Joseph Pagnol, was a teacher, and his mother, Augustine Lansot, a seamstress. The family descended from Spanish swordsmiths who fled from Toledo during the Inquisition. When Pagnol was three, the family moved to Saint-Loup near Marseilles, where his father was appointed as a regular teacher at the school in the Chemin des Chartreux, the biggest elementary school in Marseilles. Pagnol learned to read at an early age, but until the age of six he was not allowed to open a book, "for fear of cerebral explosion," as his mother believed could happen. Pagnol wrote his first play for the local group when he was only 15. He studied at the University of Aix-en-Provence, where he helped found a student literary magazine, Fantasio, in 1913. Renamed Les cahiers du Sud, it was to become one of the most influential literary magazines of the century. The magazine published Pagnol's early poetry, a novel, LA PETITE FILLE AUX YEUX SOMBRES (1921), and his play CATULLE (1922).
In the footsteps of his father, Pagnol worked as an English teacher at various secondary schools at Pamiers, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseilles. In 1916, he married Simone Collin; they had two sons and a daughter. After divorce, he married in 1945 the actress Jacqueline Bouvier; they had two sons.
When he was assigned in 1922 to a school in Paris, he abandoned his teaching post at the Lycée Condorcet and devoted himself to writing plays. Pagnol gained fame with his play MERCHANTS OF GLORY (1925), a satire on civilian profiteers who exploit the heroism of soldiers. It was followed by JAZZ (1926). Pagnol's international reputation was established with TOPAZE (1928). This examination of a naïve schoolteacher dominated by desire for money has been filmed several times. The play first opened in Paris, Théâtre des Variétés, October 11, 1928, and ran there for two years. In the story Topaze loses his teaching position when he does not raise the grades of one of his wealthy students. He finds work as tutor in the home of Suzy Courtois, the mistress of a dishonest local politician Régis Castel-Bénac. Topaze is cheated to sign an obscure business paper, one of Régis's deals, but is persuaded to remain silent. Since the business is legally in Topaze's name, he decides to run it for his own profit. Suzy starts to admire him: cynicism is the only attitude possible in the world ruled by money.
After his success as a playwright, Pagnol established his own studio, releasing films through Gaumont. With his close friend Léon Voltera, who owned Théâtre de Paris, he visited Casino de Paris to find a suitable wife from the dance girls. Pagnol's attitude to women was chauvinist - they were good only for giving birth to children. Pagnol also found a charming candidate, who accepted without hesitation his marriage proposal.
Pagnol saw his first talking picture in 1930 and stated some years later that the cinema "should confine itself to photographing theater." But he also saw potentialities for the filming of a drama: "The art of theater is being revived in another form and will begin to enjoy an unprecedented success... A new field is opening up for the playwright and we shall start to see productions which not even Sophocles, Racine, or Molière could have dared to attempt." In addition to directing films from his own plays and screenplays, Pagnol made films based on texts by two other Provence writers. From Jean Giono's novels he made three films: ANGÈLE (1934), based on Un de Baumugnes, REGAIN (1937), and LA FEMME DU BOULANGER (1938), starring the legandary actor Raimu. In this film the lady of the title has gone off with a young man, and her husband, the baker, has gone on strike.
Pagnol often cooperated in film projects, which were directed by others, including Alexander Korda's Marius (1930), Marc Allégret's Fanny (1932), Louis Gasnier's Topaze (1932; second version in 1933, directed by Harry d'Abbabie d'Arrast, script by Ben Hecht; third film adaptation in 1961, directed by Peter Sellers), James Whale's Port of Seven Seas (1938, based on Fanny, script by Preston Sturges), and Joshua Logan's Fanny (1961). In Hollywood Universal had acquired the rights to make an English version of Fanny already in the early 1930s. Carl Laemmle Jr. made the picture his pet project. Preston Sturges's script was faithful to the spirit of the story, but he also had to bring it within censorship requirements. In the story a woman marries one man while pregnant with another man's child. Pagnol become worried and asked questions about ownership of the rights. And the director William Wyler had problems in finding the right actor to play César, the male lead. Henry Henigson continued with the film project and triend to arrange a deal with Ernst Lubitsch, without success. Later Wyler tried to buy Fanny from Pagnol but the film was not made until Joshua Logan produced and directed it, starring Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier and Charles Boyer.
Claude Berri's films Jean de Florette (1986) and Manon des Sources were successful film adaptations of Pagnol's Provencal family story, dealing with creed, betrayal, and revenge. Gerard Depardieu played a hunchback, Jean de Florette, who has inherited a farm. His wealthy neighbors, Papet (Yves Montand) and Ugolin, his nephew (Daniel Auteuil, plot against Jean. In the second part of the story Ugolin falls in love with Manon (Emmanuelle Beart) who is Jean's daughter.
"CÉSAR: You know, Marius, a woman's honor is like a match. You can only use it once." (Charles Boyer in Fanny, 1961)
While Pagnol was making LA FILLE DU PUISATIER (1941) in Nice, with Raimu and Fernandel the German army conquered France. In the film Marshal Pétain's radio announcement of the end of hostilities was later replaced by General de Gaulle's radio speech. This version was warmly welcomed by British and American audiences after the war. But in France it was said, that he had told this particular story too often - about a pregnant girl and her angry father.
In his films and plays Pagnol was primarily concerned with a poetic or picturesque interpretation of what is real. He wrote with affection about the people of Provence, their dreams and their fears. He used natural settings of the city, harbor, and the countryside as a background. His Marseilles trilogy in particular illustrated the temperament typical of the south of France. The story is set against the colorful milieu of the Vieux Port, Old Port, of Marseilles. Marius has always dreamed of 'far islands beneath the wind' and leaves Fanny to go to sea. When he returns, Fanny has married the elderly and kindly Panisse, for the sake of her and Marius' child, César. Twenty years later, after the death of Panisse, Marius and Fanny are reunited by their son.
"HONORINE: My poor Panisse. Nightgowns have no pockets. I'm speaking for your own good. Have you ever thought about what sometimes happens, when an old man marries a young girl?" (Georgette Anys in Joshua Logan's film Fanny, based on Pagnol's text)
After the war Pagnol made LA BELLE MEUNIÈRE (1948), based on the life of Franz Schubert, and some other films at his modern studios near Marseilles. In 1946 he was elected to the French Academy. From Alphonse Daudet's (1840-1897) Lettres de mon moulin Pagnol chose three episodes for a film (1954). With Daudet he also shared delight in windmills.
During the heyday of the politique d'auteurs, the so-called auteur theory, young filmmaker rejected established criteria of cinematic merit, and among others Pagnol's work, which they considered cinematically barren. One of their heroes was Jean Renoir, who had directed for Pagnol some scenes in the 1930s. Pagnol had helped Renoir with dialogue - it was the strongest element in his films. Pagnol's later plays include JUDAS, staged in 1955, and FABIEN (1956), a cynical account of Parisian mores. His autobiography, SOUVENIRS D'ENFANCE (4 vols.), was published in 1957-77.
The first volume, LA GLOIRE DE MON PÈRE, was a praise of the author's father. The good-humored story tells about Joseph Pagnol and his arrogant brother-in-law, Jules, who rent a summer cottage and go hunting. In this trip the young Marcel witnesses his father's victory over Jules. LE CHÂTEAU DE MA MÈRE (1958) continued Pagnol's memoirs. The books were later filmed by Yves Robert. In the third volume Pagnol wrote about his school years and summer vacations. The final volume, LE TEMPS DES AMOURS (1977), was left unfinished, and appeared posthumously. Pagnol died in Paris on April 18, 1974.
For further reading: Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century, vol. 3, ed. by Steven R. Serafin (1999); Pagnol's Provence by Julian More and Carey More (1996); Il était une fois Marce Pagnol by R. Castans (1978); Marcel Pagnol by C. E. J. Caldicott (1977); Marcel Pagnol, enfant d'Aubagne et de la Treille by G. Berni (1975); Marcel Pagnol by C. Beylie (1974); Le jardin de Pagnol by I. Combaluzier (1937) - Note: Claude Berri's films Jean de Florette (1986) starring Yves Montand, Gerard Depardieu, Daniel Auteil, and Manon des Sources (1987), starring Yves Montand, Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Beart, were based on Pagnol's portrayals of Provence. - For further information: Marcel Pagnon
Selected works (films, plays, autobiographical works, screenplays):
* LA PETITE FILLE AUX YEUX SOMBRES, 1921
* CATULLE, 1922
* TONTON, 1924 (with Paul Nivoix)
* LES MERCHANDS DE GLOIRE, 1924
* ULYSSE CHEZ LES PHÉNICIENS, 1925
* UN DIRECT AU CŒUR, 1926 (with Paul Nivoix)
* JAZZ, 1926
* TOPAZE, 1928 - Herra Topaze - several films: in 1933, dir. by Harry d'Abbadie, starring John Barrymore, Myrna Loy; Mr. Topaze, dir. by Peter Sellers, starring Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom; in 1952 Howard Hughes announced a remake with Vincent Price, but it never happened
* MARIUS, perf. 1929, pub 1931 - suom.
* film: MARIUS, 1931, by A Korda and Marcel Pagnol
* FANNY, perf. 1931, pub. 1932 - suom. - Port of Seven Seas (1938), screenplay by Preston Sturges, directed by James Whale, starring Wallace Beery, a condensed version of Marius trilogy; Fanny (1960), dir. by Joshua Logan, starring Charles Boyer, Maurice Chevalier, Leslie Caron
* PIROUETTES, 1932
* film: TOPAZE, 1932, by Louis Gasnier
* DIRECT AU COEUR, 1933 (with Roger Lion)
* film: JOFROI, 1933
* LE GENDRE DE MONSIEUR POIRER, 1933
* LÉOPOLD LE BIEN-AIMÉ, 1933
* LE VOYAGE DE MONSIEUR PERRICHON, 1934
* film: L'ARTICLE 330, 1934
* film: TARTARIN DE TARASCON, 1934 (based on Alphonse Daudet's story)
* film: ANGÈLE, 1934 (film based on Jean Giono's novel)
* film: MERLUSSE, 1935
* film: CIGALON, 1935
* MERLUSSE, 1936 (original text)
* CIGALON, 1936 (original text)
* film: TOPAZE, 1936
* CÉSAR, 1936, pub. 1937 - suom.
* REGAIN, 1937 (film based on Jean Giono's novel)
* film: LE SCHPOUNTZ, 1938
* film: LA FEMME DU BOULANGER, 1938 (film based on Jean Giono's novel)
* film: LA FILLE DU PUISATIER, 1940
* LA FILLE DU PUISATIER, 1941
* film: NAÏS, 1945 (dir. by Raymond Leboursier, prod. and written by Pagnol?)
* LE PREMIER AMOUR, 1946
* NOTES SUR LE RIRE, 1947
* DISCOURS DE RÉCEPTION À L'ACADÉMIE FRANÇAISE, 1947
* translation: William Shakespeare's Hamlet, 1947
* LA BELLE MEUNIÈRE, 1948
* film: LA BELLE MEUNIÈRE, 1948
* CRITIQUE DES CRITIQUES, 1949
* film: LE ROSIER DE MADAME HUSSON, 1950 (dir. by Jean Boyer; based on Guy de Maupassant's story)
* film: TOPAZE, 1950
* film: MANON DES SOURCES, 1952 (written and directed by M. Pagnol, music by Raymond Legrand, starring Jacqueline Pagnol, Raymond Péllégrin, Henri Vibert)
* ANGÈLE, 1953
* film: CARNAVAL, 1953 (dir. by Henri Verneuil)
* MANON DES SOURCES, 1953 - trans. by W.E. van Heyningen's
* TROIS LETTRES DE MON MOULIN, 1954 (screenplay, based on A. Daudet's novel Lettres de mon moulin)
* film: LES LETTRES DE MON MOULIN, 1953-54
* JUDAS, 1955
* FABIEN, 1956
* LA GLOIRE DE MON PÈRE, 1957 (Souvenirs d'enfance) - My Father's Glory - film 1990, dir. by Yves Robert, Philippe Caubère, Nathalie Roussel, Didier Pain, Thérèse Liotard, Julien Ciamaca, Joris Molinas, Benoît Martin
* translation: Vergil's Les Bucoliques, 1958
* LE CHÂTEAU DE MA MÈRE, 1958 (Souvenirs d'enfance) - My Mother's Castle - film 1990, dir. by Yves Robert, starring Philippe Caubère, Nathalie Roussel, Julien Ciamaca, Julie Timmerman
* DISCOURS DE RÉCEPTION DE MARCEL ACHARD À L'ACADÉMIE FRANÇAISE ET RÉPONSE DE MARCEL PAGNOL, 1959
* LE TEMPS DES SECRETS, 1960 (Souvenirs d'enfance) - The Time of Secrets
* MANON DES SOURCES, 1962
* L'EAU DES COLLINES, 1963 (2 vols.: Manon Des Sources & Jean De Florette - two-part film 1986 (114 min+121), dir. by Claude Berri, Gérald Brach, starring Yves Montand, Gérald Depardieu, Emmanuelle Béart, Hippolyte Girardot Daniel Auteuil)
* LE MASQUE DE FER, 1964
* television film: LE CURÉ DE CUCUGNAN, 1967
* translation: William Shakespeare's Le Songe d'une nuit d'été, 1970
* LA PRIÈRE AUX ÉTOILLES, CATULLE, CINÉMATURGIE DE PARIS, JOFROI, NAÏS, 1970 (Œuvres complètes)
* LE SECRET DU MASQUE DE FER, 1973
* ŒUVRES COMPLÈTES, 1964-1973 (6 vols.)
* LE ROSIER DE MADAME HUSSON, LES SECRETS DE DIEU, 1977 (Œuvres complètes)
* LE TEMPS DES AMOURS, 1977 (Souvenirs d'enfance)
* CONFIDENCES, 1981
* L'INFÂME TRUC ET AUTRES NOUVELLES, 1984
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