Diary of a Chambermaid

Diary of a Chambermaid

Director: Jean Renoir

Cast: Jean Renoir, Paulette Goddard, Burgess Meredith, Hurd Hatfield

     
 

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Based on the novel by Octave Mirbeau, Diary of a Chambermaid is a noble experiment: a "Continental" sex drama with a virtually all-Anglo cast. Paulette Goddard plays the title character, a saucy servant named Celestine whose forthrightness has a curious effect on a wealthy Parisian household. Determined to elevate her lot in life, Celestine uses her unsubtle…  See more details below

Overview

Based on the novel by Octave Mirbeau, Diary of a Chambermaid is a noble experiment: a "Continental" sex drama with a virtually all-Anglo cast. Paulette Goddard plays the title character, a saucy servant named Celestine whose forthrightness has a curious effect on a wealthy Parisian household. Determined to elevate her lot in life, Celestine uses her unsubtle charms to beguile her wishy-washy master, Monsieur Lanlaire (Reginald Owen), and Lanlaire's wastrelly son, Georges (Hurd Hatfield). She also inadvertently inspires the lovesick valet Joseph (Francis Lederer) to steal from the family and kill Georges. Burgess Meredith, Goddard's then-husband, delivers an astonishing performance as Mauger, the Lanlaires' bizarre, shell-shocked neighbor (he also wrote the screenplay and co-produced). Diary of a Chambermaid was remade by Luis Buñuel in 1964, with Jeanne Moreau in the lead.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Diary of a Chambermaid is an odd, haunting film in which the whole is unfortunately less than the sum of its parts. It's like a stew in which all the individual ingredients resolutely remain separate, their strong flavors fighting against each other and never combining to create one united flavor. Thus, we have Jean Renoir and Burgess Meredith's skillful, intelligent, and insightful screenplay, which has numerous dramatic high points, a great deal to say about the human condition, and a number of finely etched character portraits. Bringing those portraits to life is a talented cast, headed by Paulette Goddard, whose work is surprisingly nuanced and carefully detailed. Judith Anderson is appropriately imposing yet displays her character's weakness in a manner that is appealing without inspiring misplaced sympathy. Francis Lederer is intensely powerful, Irene Ryan a sweet delight, and Burgess Meredith a wonderfully daft breath of fresh air. Yet, as good as they are, only Meredith (fully) and Ryan (partially) actually seem to be really "in tune" with the screenplay, perhaps because the screenplay asks that their characters be presented in a somewhat artificial manner. The rest of the cast, for all their skill, don't seem to be natural; they're off, only by a degree or two, but it's enough to make a tremendous difference. Part of the blame goes to Renoir, whose direction is solid but unable to accomplish the crucial task of bringing all the parts together. The result is a near-miss, but one that's undeniably fascinating -- in parts.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/26/2013
UPC:
0887090054904
Original Release:
1946
Rating:
NR
Source:
Olive Films
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:26:00
Sales rank:
29,340

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Paulette Goddard Celestine
Burgess Meredith Captain Mauger
Hurd Hatfield Georges Lanlaire
Francis Lederer Joseph
Judith Anderson Mme. Lanlaire
Florence Bates Rose
Irene Ryan Louise
Almira Sessions Marianne
Reginald Owen Captain Lanlaire
Jean Renoir Actor

Technical Credits
Jean Renoir Director,Screenwriter
Lucien Andriot Cinematographer
Benedict E. Bogeaus Producer
Joseph Depew Asst. Director
Eugène Lourié Production Designer
Burgess Meredith Producer,Screenwriter
Michel Michelet Score Composer
James Smith Editor
Lee Zavitz Special Effects

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Diary of a Chambermaid
1. Chapter I [11:42]
2. Chapter II [10:50]
3. Chapter III [17:31]
4. Chapter IV [6:33]
5. Chapter V [17:14]
6. Chapter VI [5:23]
7. Chapter VII [7:35]
8. Chapter VIII [10:31]

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