Thursday, March 28, 2013

12. La Souriante Madame Beudet/The Smiling Madame Beudet (1922)

Running Time: 38 minutes
Directed By: Germaine Dulac
Written By: Denys Amiel, Andre Obey
Main Cast: Germaine Dermoz, Alexandre Arquilliere, Jean d'Yd, Madeleine Guitty


Another much sought after movie, finally viewed by yours truly. I'll go into detail below on how I finally managed to track this one down, but now with "The Smiling Madame Beudet" finished, that officially puts the kibosh on the 1920s. Also, speaking of milestones, I've just noticed that we've recently passed the 800 post mark, so huzzah for me!

Again we run into the trouble of differentiating running times (although thanks to a commenter on my "Korkarlen" post, I learned that runtimes for silent pictures can often differ from source to source), as THE BOOK cites this film as being fifty-four minutes, while most of the versions of YouTube were either thirty-eight minutes or less. I watched one of the thirty-eight minute versions and it seemed to be totally intact and earned me my "tick". The film stars Germaine Dermoz and Madame Beudet, a bored, unhappy wife, who's husband is an arrogant, mean old cuss. Mr. Beudet has this little game he plays where he takes his revolver out of his desk and points it at his head, pulling the trigger. Of course, he's sure to note, that he couldn't possibly do any damage because the revolver is always kept unloaded. In the beginning of the film, Mr. Beudet receives some tickets to a showing of "Faust", but Madame Beudet isn't interested. Mr. Beudet takes a couple friends, and while he's out of the house, Madame Beudet  sleeps, dreaming of a better life, without Mr. Beudet. When she awakes, she takes the opportunity to load Mr. Beudet's revolver and waits for him to return.

So here's what I actually had to do to be able to watch this movie. First off, there are MULTIPLE copes of "The Smiling Madame Beudet" on YouTube, however, none of them have English intertitles. So, I went to a subtitle finder site and found an SRT file for English subs, that fit the 38 minute version of this movie. Then, I opened them in a text document, printed them out and voila, I'm holding a pretty decent set of English subtitles in my hand. All I had to do from there was follow along and when intertitles came on, I simply referenced the sheets in front of me. 

Of course this will never happen, but I propose that the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book undergo a name change. It needs to be called something like "The 1001 Most Important Movies in Cinema History". Do you know why "The Smiling Madame Beudet" is included in THE BOOK? Well, in the first line of it's BOOK entry, it is revealed and I quote...

"Germaine Dulac's celebrated film is known as one of the earliest examples of both feminist and experimental cinema."

See you don't really have to even be a "must see" movie to get into this exclusive party. All you really have to do is be a first and you've gained inclusion. Are "A Trip to the Moon" or "The Great Train Robbery" "must see" films when compared to the multiple movies that were left out of THE BOOK? I'm talking about films like Dial M for Murder, Scenes from a Marriage and Life is Beautiful. Absolutely not and neither is "The Smiling Madame Beudet". Look I've sung this song and dance many a times in the past, so there's no use wearing out my fingers mentioning it again.

Was "The Smiling Madame Beudet" really all that bad? Well, no, not really. It wasn't THAT bad at all. In fact, I sort of enjoyed it, for as long as it was. I think there was definitely an idea there and one that maybe fully didn't reach it's potential. I think you could've beefed this up a little bit and it really could've amounted to something. As it is, it's right around average and compared to some of the other shorts I've seen, this is pretty high up there. I'm highly doubtful that this will make a TOP 20 appearance or anything, but it was a perfectly fine way to spend thirty-eight minutes.

RATING: 5.5/10  Quick and dirty because it's 1AM and this blogger is pretty wiped out.


March 28, 2013  1:00am

1 comment:

  1. Sorry you didn't really go for this.. I enjoyed it a lot.. nicely quirky, but blessedly short. I cannot remember exactly how long the one i saw was.. but I think a bit longer than the one you saw.


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