La Chienne

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La Chienne
La chienne.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Jean Renoir
Produced by Pierre Braunberger
Roger Richebé
Charles David (production manager)
Written by Jean Renoir
Based on The novel by Georges de La Fouchardière
and the play by André Mouëzy-Éon
Starring Michel Simon
Janie Marèse
Georges Flamant
Roger Gaillard[fr]
Cinematography Theodor Sparkuhl
Edited by Marguerite Renoir
Production
company
Les Etablissement Braunberger-Richebé
Distributed by Gaumont
Release date
November 19, 1931
Running time
96 minutes
Country France
Language French

La Chienne (The Bitch) is a 1931 French film by director Jean Renoir. It is the second sound film by the director and the twelfth film of his career. The literal English translation of the film's title is "The Bitch", although the movie was never released under this title. It is often referred to in English as Isn't Life a Bitch? The film was remade by Fritz Lang in the United States as Scarlet Street (1945).

La Chienne was released by The Criterion Collection on both Blu-ray and DVD, newly restored in 4K, on June 14, 2016.

Plot[edit]

Maurice (Michel Simon) is a married cashier who meets Lulu (Janie Marèse), a streetwalker. Their chance meeting results in Maurice falling in love with Lulu. She, however, is in love with her boyfriend-pimp, Dédé (Georges Flamant). Together, Dédé and Lulu plot ways to get Maurice to give cash to Lulu, mostly at the urging of Dédé.

Cast (in credits order)[edit]

Production and aftermath[edit]

In the film Michel Simon falls in love with Janie Marèse, and he did off-screen as well, while Marèse fell for Georges Flamant, who plays the pimp. Renoir and producer Pierre Braunberger had encouraged the relationship between Flamant and Marèse in order to get the fullest conviction into their performances (La Chienne was Flamant's first acting experience). After the film had been completed Flamant, who could barely drive, took Marèse for a drive, crashed the car and she was killed. At the funeral Michel Simon fainted and had to be supported as he walked past the grave. He threatened Renoir with a gun, saying that the death of Marèse was all his fault. "Kill me if you like", responded Renoir, "but I have made the film".[1]

Home media[edit]

On October 23, 2003, La Chienne was released on DVD in France by Opening Distribution, along with Renoir's On purge bébé (1931), Tire-au-flanc (1928), and Catherine (1924), as part of a box set.[2] The film was later released together with Renoir's Partie de campagne (A Day in the Country) by M6 Vidéo on both Blu-ray and DVD in France on November 10, 2015.[3][4]

La Chienne was released in North America on LaserDisc in 1989 by Image Entertainment as part of the "CinemaDisc Collection".[5] The film was also released on VHS by Kino International on February 5, 2002, which includes Partie de campagne as an extra.[6] On June 14, 2016, American video-distribution company The Criterion Collection released La Chienne, newly restored through a 4K digital transfer, on Blu-ray and DVD. Both editions include a 1961 introduction to the film by director Jean Renoir, a new interview with a Renoir scholar, a new restoration of Renoir's On purge bébé, a 95-minute conversation between Renoir and actor Michel Simon directed by Jacques Rivette, new English subtitles for the film, and an essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau. The new Blu-ray and DVD cover as well as interior poster was illustrated by Blutch.[7][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Richard Boston Boudu Saved from Drowning, 1994, London: BFI (FIlm Classics series), p.37-38
  2. ^ "Coffret Jean Renoir 3 DVD : La Chienne / Tire au flanc / On purge bébé / Catherine". Amazon.fr. Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Coffret Renoir : Partie de Campagne & La Chienne". M6 Vidéo. SND-Video. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "Coffret Partie de Campagne and La Chienne Blu-ray (France)". Blu-ray.com. Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  5. ^ "The CinemaDisc Collection, LA CHIENNE Laser Disc". eBay. eBay, Inc. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  6. ^ "Amazon.com: La Chienne [VHS]". Amazon.com. Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  7. ^ "La Chienne (1931)". The Criterion Collection. The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "La Chienne Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 15 June 2016. 

External links[edit]