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La Madelon (1955)

1914:"Le Tourlourou" is a cafe in Ganchery .La Madelon is the owner's daughter.She's in love with a corporal ,but she likes all these soldiers who go back to fight.


Jean Boyer


Jean Boyer (adaptation), Jacques Robert (story) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Line Renaud ... Madeleine Thullier, dite La Madelon
Jean Richard ... Antoine Pichot
Roger Pierre ... Le caporal Georges Beauguitte
Pierre Larquey ... Le curé
Georges Chamarat ... Auguste Thullier (as Georges Chamarat sociétaire de la Comédie Française)
André Valmy André Valmy ... Le capitaine Van Meulen
Gilbert Gil ... Un commandant d'aviation chez Maxim's
Jacques Dynam ... Le chasseur de chez Maxim's
Jean Martinelli ... Le colonel de Saint-Marc
Peter Walker ... Un Américain
Michèle Monty Michèle Monty ... Juliette
Jess Hahn ... Le général américain Gibson
Émile Genevois Émile Genevois ... Le soldat Alfred
Odette Barencey Odette Barencey ... Mme Thullier (as Odette Barancey)
Edmond Chemi Edmond Chemi ... Le gendarme qui arrête Antoine (as Cheni)


1914:"Le Tourlourou" is a cafe in Ganchery .La Madelon is the owner's daughter.She's in love with a corporal ,but she likes all these soldiers who go back to fight.She's also got a ludicrous suitor, but she walked out on him when she heard the bugles of the regiment .Sadly he is the deputy mayor 's son and the angry father has Madelon 's cafe closed.Undaunted, the young girl leaves for Paris where she meets the mayor who cancels his deputy's orders. Written by dbdumonteil

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Release Date:

2 December 1955 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Madelon See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Which way to the front?
14 September 2017 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

"La Madelon" was par excellence the song of the Poilus (="hairy" ;nickname of the WW 1 soldiers );written in March 1914, it passed almost unnoticed till it was sung in the "Theatre Aux Armées"(army entertainment) and became the "hit" of French WW1 .La Madelon" is a fiction character, she would epitomize the wartime's soldiers' pen friend as well as the cafe servant (such as the woman who would run the cafe of the Lyon-Perrache railway station ),she comforted the soldiers who were suffering from separation and sexual deprivation ;it was almost an abstract concept which would represent for the privates the girl they left behind.

"La Madelon",the film,is based on the eponymous song (aka "Quand Madelon" );today it seems naive,brainless and a little reactionary.Today ,only the beginning of it has got something of the era zeitgeist: Antoine ,declared unfit for military service ,because of tachycardia , feels all the more humiliated since he is in love with the famous Madelon ,and his rival is a dashing corporal in his shining uniform.

The rest of the movie gives,to put it mildly ,a fanciful version of WW1.It takes a lot of nerve to begin a story which takes place in WW1 with the fairy tale words " Once upon a time" !The battle of the Marne ,as told by a soldier seems a laughing party with all its taxis coming to the army's rescue; it actually claimed the lives of more than 500,000 men.In the posh restaurant,Maximes,only fighter pilots and other war heroes have dinner ; it passes over in silence the shirkers depicted by Marcel Proust and Roger Martin Du Gard in their novels.And what can we say of Madelon who tries to get to the trenches where she wants to meet the man she loves? On her way,she meets English, Americans (it's 1917!) and Belgians (the Belgian captain is the only one who hints at a living hell ,and just because his fiancé was a victim of the war)The military hospital is an idyllic place where nobody seems to suffer ,look, when Antoine takes fainted Madelon in his arms to take her to her corporal turned sergeant ,all the patients ,including the disabled and the crippled follow him.

The movie is almost a musical for its star ,Line Renaud (nowadays highly praised for her involvement in the aids cause) is a music hall singer;so there are many songs, apart from the title tune , in it.Renaud does a medley of songs to the troops ("IL Reverra Paname" "It's A Long way to Tipperary" -for the Scottish-, the old French song "A La Claire Fontaine "-with male backing vocals- ,"over there" (for the Americans ).And ,for sure ,the privates prefer her performance to the diva's aria and to the tragedian's act who declaims "Le Combat Contre Les Maures" from Corneille's "Le Cid" (which a soldier mistakes for "cider" !)

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