The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946 film)

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The Diary of a Chambermaid
The Diary of a Chambermaid FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Jean Renoir
Produced by Benedict Bogeaus
Paulette Goddard
Burgess Meredith
Written by André Heuse (play)
André de Lorde (play)
Thielly Nores (play)
Octave Mirbeau (novel)
Burgess Meredith
Starring Paulette Goddard
Burgess Meredith
Hurd Hatfield
Francis Lederer
Cinematography Lucien Andriot
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s)
  • February 15, 1946 (1946-02-15)
Running time 86 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946) is a drama film about a newly hired servant who severely disrupts a wealthy family. The film was based on the novel of the same name by Octave Mirbeau and the play Le journal d'une femme de Chambre by André Heuse, André de Lorde, and Thielly Nores, was directed by Jean Renoir, and starred Paulette Goddard, Burgess Meredith, Hurd Hatfield, and Francis Lederer.

It was named the eighth best English-language films of 1946 by the National Board of Review

Plot Summary[edit]

In 1885 France, chambermaid Celestine begins her new position at a rural mansion in the Lanlaires district with the intention of moving up the social ladder. She starts working on her new employer, Monsieur Lanlaire, and he soon takes a liking to her, preferring her company to that of his dominant wife.

Soon the excentric neighbor, captain Mauger becomes quite obsessed with having her working for him instead, and offers to marry her as reward for her coming to live with him, which would give her considerable wealth.

Monsieur Lanlaires sickly son Georges temporarily returns home to the estate, and in an attempt to make him stay longer, his mother does her best to make the attractive Celestine even more beautiful by buying her fancy clothes, and orders her to take extra good care of her son.

Still, Georges makes plans to go back to Paris, and the desperate madame Lanlaires orders Celestine, dressed only in her nightgown, to bring Georges some broth in his room. Georges realizes that his mother is trying to trick him into staying, and Celestine draws the same conclusion. Upset with Madame Lanlaires attempt to manipulate her, Celestine quits her job at the mansion and trirs to catch a ride into town with the cunning valet Joseph. He tells her of his plans to steal the house silverware on independance day, which is only a few days away, and persuades Celestine to stay and be his accomplice.

Madame Lanlaires eavesdrops on their conversation and spoils Joseph's plan. Instead he starts planning to steal Captain Mauger's hidden money. While the captain is out celebrating Joseph searches his house, and when the captain comes back and catches him red handed, Joseph is forced to kill the captain to get away.

Joseph tells the Lanlaires that he intends to leave his position and marry Celestine, and Madame Lanlaire is overjoyed. She has realized that her son unfortunately has fallen in love with their attractive maid. She agrees to give Joseph the silverware if he leaves the estate and takes the maid with him.

When Joseph and Celestine get caught in the celebrating crowds down in the village, Georges manages to catch up with them, determined to win Celestine back. Joseph and Georges fight each other, and it ends with Joseph being killed. Georges and Celestine then go away together.[1]


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