The Crime of Monsieur Lange

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The Crime of Monsieur Lange
1936 Le crime de Monsieur Lange.jpg
Directed by Jean Renoir
Produced by André Halley des Fontaines
Jean Renoir
Written by Jean Castanyer
Jacques Prévert
Jean Renoir
Starring René Lefèvre
Jules Berry
Marcel Lévesque
Odette Talazac
Henri Guisol
Maurice Baquet
Music by Joseph Kosma
Jean Wiener
Release dates 1936
Running time 80 min
Language French

The Crime of Monsieur Lange (original French title: Le Crime de Monsieur Lange) is a 1936 film directed by Jean Renoir about a publishing cooperative. An idyllic picture of a socialist France, the film is part social commentary and part romance.


Imbued with the spirit of the left-wing political movement, Popular Front, which would have a major political victory that year, the film chronicles the story of M. Lange (René Lefèvre), a mild-mannered clerk at a publishing company who dreams of writing Western stories. He gets his chance when Batala (Jules Berry), the salacious head of the company, fakes his own death and the abandoned workers decide to form a cooperative. They have great success with Lange's stories about the cowboy, Arizona Jim — whose stories parallel the real-life experiences of the cooperative. At the same time, Lange and his neighbor, Valentine (Florelle), fall in love.

When Batala returns from the "dead", intending to reclaim the publishing company, Lange shoots and kills him (the "crime" of the title). Lange and Valentine flee to escape the country, stopping at an inn near the Belgian border. Here, Valentine tells Lange's story to a group of the inn's patrons, who had recognized Lange as the "murderer on the run" and threatened to turn him in to the police. After the story is through, the men sympathize with Lange and decide to allow him to escape across the border to freedom.


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