Monthly Archives: September 2011


FalbalasParis Frills” (1945) 

Nota Bene: If you are going to ‘publish’ parts of this blog, as I have seen with the PPT, have the honesty and integrity to credit the blog (exact references) and do not just appropriate it as if you made some of this, especially when it comes to … this film. Merci.

Directed by Jaques Becker

 A Paris native his entire life, during the 1930s Becker worked as an assistant to director Jean Renoir, contributing to such cinematic masterpieces as Grand Illusion and The Rules of the Game. Part of the Comité de libération du cinéma français, during the German occupation of France in World War II, Becker was held by the Nazis in prison for a year. Under the auspices of Vichy France, he also became a director in his own right and went on to direct the brilliant period romance Casque d’or, the influential gangster film Touchez pas au grisbi, and the prison escape drama Le Trou. Long underrated, Becker is now regarded as one of the masters of French cinema. In his personal life he married actress Françoise Fabian, and their son Jean Becker also became a film director.

Writing Credits:

Maurice Aubergé (scenario and adaptation)

Jacques Becker (scenario and adaptation)

Maurice Griffe (scenario and adaptation)

Jacques Becker (decoupage)

Maurice Aubergé (dialogue)

Cast Credits:

Raymond Rouleau … Philippe Clarence

From Brussels, Belgium, Rouleau lived and worked in Paris as an both an actor and director for many films.

Micheline Presle … Micheline Lafaurie

Paris-born Micheline Presle (better known in the States as Micheline Prelle) was discovered by Georg Wilhelm Pabst and cast in Girls in Distress (1939) and Four Flights to Love (1940). She proceeded to make films during the Occupation, and by 1947, was deemed an important young French star, with Devil in the Flesh (1947) gaining her world-wide attention. Her marriage to American actor-turned-producer William Marshall in 1950 led her to attempt Hollywood pictures, though none of them were truly well received in America. After divorce, she gladly returned to Paris with her also actress daughter, and continued to reign in French films while also making appearances on stage.

Jean Chevrier … Daniel Rousseau

Chevrier was a Paris native who acted in 51 titles during the course of his career, including many during the occupation. He was married to actress Marie Bell.

Gabrielle Dorziat … Solange

Dorziat was a French stage and film actress as well as a fashion trend setter in Paris who helped popularize the designs of Coco Chanel; the ThéâtreGabrielle-Dorziat, a theater in Épernay, France is named for her. After her onstage debut in 1898 in Brussels she moved to Paris where her performance as Thérèse Herbault in Chaîne anglaise (1906) brought her public attention.

She became known for her offstage life as well, becoming romantically involved with actors Lucien Guitry and Louis Jouvet. She had close friendships with Jean Cocteau, Jean Giraudoux,  Coco Chanel,  Paul Bourget and Henri Bernstein. During World War I Dorziat left France to tour the United States where she raised money for war refugees. After the war she toured Canada, South America and the rest of Europe.

In 1921 Dorziat appeared in her first film L’Infante à la rose. She went on to play in over sixty films including Mayerling, Les Parents terribles and Manon. In 1925, she married Count Michel de Zogheb, the cousin of King Fuad I of Egypt. She published her memoirs Côté cour, côté jardin in 1968.

Other Cast Members:

Jeanne Fusier-Gir … Paulette

Françoise Lugagne … Anne-Marie

Christiane Barry … Lucienne

Produced by

André Halley des Fontaines

Original Music by

Jean-Jacques Grünenwald

Grünenwald was a French organist, composer, architect, and pedagogue. He studied at the Paris Conservatory, where he received first prizes in organ (1935, class of Marcel Dupré) and composition (1937, class of Henri Busser). Two years later, Grunenwald won the prestigious Second Grand Prix de Rome for his cantata, La farce du Mari fondu. Additionally to his musical education, Grunenwald was enrolled at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he graduated in 1941 with a diploma in architecture.

In 1955, Grunenwald became organist at St. Pierre-de-Montrouge in Paris. Two years later, he began a recording of the complete organ works of J. S. Bach on 24 LPs (a world premiere). From 1957-1961, he was professor of organ at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, from 1961-1966 organ teacher at the Geneva Conservatory. Among his students were Jean-Pierre Decavèle, Raffi Ourgandijan, and Louis Robilliard.

In January 1973, Jean-Jacques Grunenwald succeeded his former teacher, Marcel Dupré, as titular organist at St. Sulpice in Paris. As an internationally acknowledged concert organist, he played more than 1,500 recitals worldwide. His catalog of compositions contains numerous organ and piano works, chamber music, orchestral works, oratorios, as well as music written for several films, such as Falabalas (1945) and Monsieur Vincent (1947).

Cinematography by

Nicholas Hayer

Film Editing by

Marguerite Renoir

Art Direction by

Max Douy

Costume Design by

Marcel Rochas

Makeup Department

Alex Arxhambault.. hairstylist (as Archambault)

Georges Klein .. makeup artist  (as Klein)

Joseph Mejinsky.. makeup artist (as Mejinsky)

Production Management

Fernand Chaix… unit manager

Lpios Doris… unit manager

Jean Gehret… production supervisor

Maurice Saurel… unit manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Claude Boissol… assistant director

Stellio Lorenzi… assistant director

Marc Maurette… assistant director

Art Department

James Allan…. Assistant art director

Jean Andre…. Assistant art director

Sound Department

Gérard Brisseau… sound assistant

Pierre- Louis Calvet… sound engineer

André Rameau… sound assistant

Special Effect by

Robert Mezé

Camera and Electrical Department

Henri Caruel… still photographer (as H. Caruel)

E. Laroche… assistant camera

Jacqes Lemarc… camera operator

Gustave Raulet… assistant camera (as G. Raulet)

Henri Thibault… still photographer (as H. Thibault)

Editorial Department

Marie Cadieux…. Assistant editor

Music Department

Roger Roger… conductor

Other Crew

Annie Beaumeli,,, show window

Gabrielle… hat maker

Germain… unit location manager

Paul Payaux… production administrator

Louis Seuret.. unit location manager

Jeanna Witta… script supervisor

Synopsis and Brief Points of Reflection

Philippe Clarence, a renowned Parisian fashion designer, seduces his friend and business associate’s fiancée in the few days she was left alone in Paris. Clarence’s world allows him to be self-absorbed and indulgent, never calling for a serious demeanor. Finally, for the first time in his life, Clarence can not afford to take lightly the impact he holds in his friends’ lives, nor can he continue to make hasty decisions with his emerging collection. He must go against his entire nature to focus and be clear about his goals so as to avoid utter failure. The affairs of Clarence parallel clearly his experience with the creation of dresses and his collection as a whole, shedding a light on women as muses or mules in the male dominated design industry. The affair of Micheline and Clarence demonstrates the ease with which Clarence is able to use his style, success, charm, and allure to prompt women to act as he likes, whether as models or lovers. Clarence’s love affairs with women can be likened to his love of fashion, in recognizing his intense infatuation with new models of women (as with a new model/ style of dress influenced by each one).

Micheline’s maintains a strong screen presence and unwillingness to ultimately cave to Clarence’s long-term desires while still she remains a force in his maison de mode as her dress is being made. This strength foreshadows the rising presence of the female in the fashion world as women began to seize involvement in fashion (not simply as model peons) as a means of empowerment.

The tragic ending highlights the downfall of allowing oneself to completely live as though one can design everything; it’s hazardous for Clarence to have become accustomed to such a fast and loose lifestyle of constant success in the face of the changing role of the woman. The female at that point in history begins to come into her own as a presence in fashion, symbolized by Micheline, who completely upsets the world of Clarence in claiming what is hers and refusing what she does not desire for her greater good. As she takes the power of control from Clarence, he goes mad with desire.

Guiding Questions

Why is cultural expression through film and fashion important in this time in history?

How does the time period influence a rise of women’s participation in industry?

How does the representation of Micheline as a woman differ from that of Lucienne or Anne Marie?

What role does Mère Solange play in the film/ maison de mode?

How can Mère Solange be a constant female figure in the story, when every other female character ends up feeling slighted, misused, or compelled to leave?

Why is Clarence able to be a philanderer with such ease? What attributes has he learned through fashion in relation to understanding how to ‘manage’ women?

Is Clarence truly a womanizer or is he a product of the male dominated fashion environment?

How are the models represented in the film? Are they privileged and revered or mistreated?

Has the role of the model changed over time?

Has the perception of the model changed over time?

What is the dynamic of power between the designer and his model? (i.e. Clarence with Lucienne, who was quickly replaced after a new infatuation entered the life of Clarence)

What trends can you identify in the fashion lines of the film?

As fashion at this time was geared toward modest outfits, how did designers push for forward thinking collections?

Is there an identifiable style or look to the women chosen for the film or more specifically as models?

What does film do for the glamour of fashion? Is that also true of this film?

How do the still photos in the film contribute to the establishment of appreciation for beautiful characters?

Pour aller plus loin…

Consider the confines of producing a feature length film based on the newest fashion while in a Vichy controlled France. War placed many constraints on the production of the film not only in attempting to control artistic freedoms with politics but by creating scarcity of supplies needed for more luxurious and technically demanding arts such as fashion and film production.

contributed by Leah Booth