My favourite of three was Marius. It has the best plot and is wonderfully shot. The film has a real sense of place and feels like it exists in a living breathing environment. Fanny slackens a little in this regard, but was still my second of the trilogy. Raimu and Charpin carry the film wonderfully. I would watch these two interact all day. I'll probably vote for both of these in the 1930s ballot. Going back to the TV analogy, however, César feels somewhat like a one-off special to reunite the cast due to the success of the previous movies, and I wasn’t surprised to learn that is was purposely written later for the screen as opposed to being a play first. It’s not a bad film by any means, and I enjoyed the hours I spent with it, but I much prefer
Having now consumed the set, it is interesting to go back to our discussion on the subtitling earlier, but as I cannot speak French I cannot talk in specifics. The subtitles are fine, but don’t seem to make any strong attempt to translate the cultural or flavour of the speech. It’s very Simple English overall. Good translation should do more than that and ensure the nuances and subtleties are delivered to the reader, even with concessions for readability. These subs have plenty of room to further translate the nuances of the speech throughout the films though. Thankfully, all the leads here are quite physical actors and very expressive with body language, so what the subtitles may lack in nuance and flavour, the actors can help fill in. Don’t get wrong, I am absolutely of the belief translation is hard and extremely underpaid, but there’s obvious room for improvement here, even if these are competent enough.
the unrequited love of the first two, rather the strings all being tied up and the audience supposedly sent home happy in the third.
One thing not mentioned about the cuts above is that Pagnol in the extras talks about having cut the card playing scene himself on Marius as he didn't like the scene, so it wouldn't at all surprise me if he made cuts elsewhere such as in César, but we simply don't see him interviewed about those.
Regardless, this is one of the best boxsets that I ever bought, and this is why Criterion should exist. Highly recommended anyone buying it or even importing it.
Pagnol says in the extras on Fanny that Korda handled all the technical direction on Marius as he didn’t have a clue how to make a film, but he directed the actors and the dialogue. They got on very well it seems and were happy to work together. Interestingly, Pagnol was often off set as he was more interested in hearing the quality of how the dialogue and sound was being record, rather than watching the visual acting.
His grandson being interviewed on the disc for Marius states that he and Allégret butted heads during the making of Fanny as he did not expect Pagnol to be hands on with the cast and envisioned clear director and producer roles.