Marius

  • 1931
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Faithfully adapted from the enormously popular (over 1,000 performances) stage play by Marcel Pagnol, MARIUS was the first in a trilogy of films evoking, in richly sentimental and gently satirical style, waterfront life in Marseilles in the late 1920s and early 30s. Though still open to the criticism leveled at the time, that this was little more than canned...read more

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Faithfully adapted from the enormously popular (over 1,000 performances) stage play by Marcel Pagnol, MARIUS was the first in a trilogy of films evoking, in richly sentimental and gently satirical style, waterfront life in Marseilles in the late 1920s and early 30s. Though still open to the

criticism leveled at the time, that this was little more than canned theater, it's vastly enjoyable nonetheless, with the great Raimu stealing the show in the role (reprised from the stage version) of cafe owner Cesar. Cesar's son Marius (Pierre Fresnay) works at his father's Bar de la Marine and

loves fish-stall worker Fanny (Orane Demazis, Pagnol's longtime companion and leading lady) just a little less than he does the sea. Cesar spends most of his time in amiably idle conversation with his patrons--the wealthy Panisse (Fernand Charpin), ferry captain Felix Escartefigue (Paul Dullac),

and customs inspector Brun (Robert Vattier). When the elderly Panisse asks for Fanny's hand, she sees this as her opportunity to work on Marius' jealousy and force him to choose her over a life at sea, but she finally acknowledges the greater power of his wanderlust in a hugely touching gesture of

self-denial. The joys of MARIUS are the joys of the stage play--a fantastic cast, many drawn, like Raimu, from the Marseilles music hall; authentic, unpretentious dialogue peppered with richly provincial idioms; and fully realized, un-glamorous characters drawn with loving detail. Director

Alexander Korda brought relatively little of his own to this screen adaptation; writer/producer Pagnol watched the proceedings carefully, hired Marc Allegret to direct the same cast in the next installment, FANNY, and took over the reigns himself for CESAR. This last was an oddity, in that the

film preceded the stage play, but entirely in line with Pagnol's belief that the theater was dead and that talking pictures represented a new pinnacle of dramatic art.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Faithfully adapted from the enormously popular (over 1,000 performances) stage play by Marcel Pagnol, MARIUS was the first in a trilogy of films evoking, in richly sentimental and gently satirical style, waterfront life in Marseilles in the late 1920s and… (more)

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