Derek Winnert


This article was written on 12 Dec 2017, and is filled under Reviews.

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Fanny *** (1961, Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Boyer, Horst Buchholz) – Classic Movie Review 6399

Director Joshua Logan’s romantic 1961 film is Hollywood’s second version of Marcel Pagnol’s Marius trilogy (first made in America before as Port of Seven Seas in 1938) arriving on screen via Logan’s and S N Behrman’s Broadway musical version, without the songs (though the score is used as background music only). It was nominated for five Oscars.

The casting of Charles Boyer and Maurice Chevalier as charming Marseilles old codgers on a never-neverland seafront in the South of France is an attractive prospect, and the duo give the winning performances expected of them.

However, the love story of pretty young lovers, Fanny and Marius (the waif-like Leslie Caron, the handsome Horst Buchholz), turns out to be rather less appealing and a bit soppy the way it is handled here. Nevertheless, it is still quite sweet though, thanks to Caron and Buchholz.

Boyer plays Marius’s café-owning father César and Chevalier plays the rich, ancient widowed Panisse, who seeks Fanny’s hand in marriage. [Spoiler alert] The 18-year-old Marius follows his wanderlust and sails away to sea, leaving Fanny pregnant with a baby.

Jack Cardiff’s gorgeous Technicolor cinematography is the film’s other main allure. It was Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Boyer), Best Cinematography, Color (Cardiff), Best Film Editing (William Reynolds) and Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Morris Stoloff, Harry Sukman).

Also in the cast are Georgette Anys as Fanny’s mother Honorine, Salvatore Baccaloni, Lionel Jeffries, Raymond Bussières, Joël Flateau, Victor Francen, Paul Bonifas and Moustache.

The fairly adept and polished screenplay is by Julius J Epstein.

Marcel Pagnol’s Marius trilogy (or Marseilles trilogy) was first made in France in the Thirties as Marius, Fanny and César,

© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 6399

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Horst Buchholz (1933–2003).

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