At slightly more than three hours, this movie version is just half of what the consortium of Canadian and French companies shot for the television market. The film purports to be a history of Louisiana as seen through the eyes of a doughty heroine (Kidder), who married three men and kept
her promise to maintain her family manse, known as "Bagatelle." Now, if the story of a tough woman in the Deep South in the 1800s sounds familiar, you're absolutely right. Forty years go by, and we see Kidder age gracefully as she marries, has affairs, gives birth, battles, and winds up with the
one man who has stuck with her through thick, thicker, and thickest (Charleson). This steward at the plantation satisfies her intellectual needs (such as they are) but is a total washout in the bedroom. After her early sexual flings, however, Kidder finally realizes how fleeting these pleasures
are and how much she cares about Charleson. By the time the movie ends, Kidder has been involved with Parisian socialite Lanoux and cotton man Pellegrin, as well as a few others who are hinted at. Pellegrin eventually rapes and then murders Kidder's daughter. The period costumes and settings all
have the look of frugality. Again, this is a "Canadian content" movie (the Canadian government grants depended on the number of Canadians involved). The picture could have used any of several US actresses in the lead, but Kidder--a Canadian (whose talents leave much to be desired)--was selected.
The usual cliches in the script leave us with the painful feeling that we've seen it all before--and better. De Broca had previously made a few fine comedies such as THAT MAN FROM RIO, KING OF HEARTS, and DEAR INSPECTOR. Directing this movie did nothing for his reputation, but it did for his
personal life: he married Kidder. Two other fine French directors had previously been selected for the miniseries movie, Etienne Perier and Jacques Demy, but both had second thoughts after seeing the script.
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- Released: 1984
- Rating: NR
- Review: At slightly more than three hours, this movie version is just half of what the consortium of Canadian and French companies shot for the television market. The film purports to be a history of Louisiana as seen through the eyes of a doughty heroine (Kidder)… (more)