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The Passerby (1951)

La passante (original title)
A woman who has a terrible secret to conceal takes refuge on a barge.


Henri Calef


Henri Calef (adaptation), Serge Groussard (novel) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Henri Vidal ... François Malard
Maria Mauban Maria Mauban ... Madeleine Lemoine
Daniel Ivernel ... Jeanjean
Jane Marken ... Mme. Pomont
Noël Roquevert ... M. Pomont
Dora Doll ... Irma
Marcelle Géniat Marcelle Géniat ... Mme. Iturbe
Jean Marchat Jean Marchat ... Me. Darbel
Annette Poivre ... Jeannette
Robert Dalban ... Le trafiquant
Louis de Funès ... L'éclusier
Pierre Sergeol Pierre Sergeol ... Le policier
Colette Georges Colette Georges ... Mlle. Pomont
Solange Certain Solange Certain ... Paulette
Jacques Dynam ... Le poinçonneur


A woman is on the lam.Distraught,she runs across the streets of a small town ,looking for a way to get out of this place.She takes refuge on a barge where two men work .She asks them to take her to Paris and of course she is hiding a terrible secret.As they sail along the canal,François falls in love with the mysterious lady,but there's a rivalry between him and his colleague Jeanjean who tries to abuse their passenger. Written by dbdumonteil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »









Release Date:

18 May 1951 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

I perastiki See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Great atmosphere, tight story
24 November 2018 | by gbill-74877See all my reviews

There is such atmosphere to this French noir film, which has a woman (Maria Mauban) fleeing a small town and hitching a ride to Paris on a river barge. It's a tight story told over five days, and director Henri Calef does a good job in letting the characters unfold over time. We see tension between the two men who operate the barge (the captain, played by Henri Vidal and the first mate, Daniel Ivernel) in various forms, including the mate's plan to make a little extra money by smuggling a load of alcohol. It's an interesting commentary on the male struggle with hierarchy; there are only two of them, and yet they seem to regularly butt heads, with the captain needing to assert himself even when it's unnecessary, and the mate doing passive-aggressive things in protest. Just as the barge lumbers down the narrow canals, we feel the closeness of its quarters, and perhaps the inevitability of the sexual rivalry that plays out for Mauban, even though both men are married.

Vidal is excellent, especially in the moment of truth scenes with Mauban, and I smiled when he punched out Ivernel with his forearms and elbows. Mauban is wonderful too, with great screen presence and a character whose innocence in what she's running from being questionable. Ivernel's character seems selfish and a bit of a fool, but he seems to see through her best, and there is thus nuance to each of the three principal characters. The cinematography is great, whether it's on that heavy barge or in the shadows or dappled light of the trees along the shore, and there are moments of real tension. A nice little film to find.

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