POIL DE CAROTTE (Julien Duvivier, 1925)

This amounts to a public service announcement. No one should see this film thinking it is the 1932 French film also based on Jules Renard novels, especially since both films have the same title and both were directed by Julien Duvivier. This earlier, silent film is so botched from dreary start to dreary finish that indeed Duvivier may have felt he had to try again. It has none of the exhilaration of the remake, none of the fresh, imaginative childhood poetry. It is simply a sob story about an uninteresting nine- or ten-year-old boy, played here by a young actor who is bereft of charm. The film is dry, academic, uninvolving, screamingly dull. There is good reason that the later version remains highly regarded while the earlier one has faded into obscurity.
     I have written elsewhere on this blog about the genuine Poil de Carotte.
     Of course, anyone should see any film that he or she wants to see. I simply wish to warn you away from thinking that the 1925 film is the 1932 classic. It isn’t. Not by a long shot.

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