Monday, May 25, 2009

5/21/09: Madame Bovary (1949)

The acclaimed director Vincente Minnelli (Father of the Bride) was my motivation for owning this film version of the famous French novel by Gustave Flaubert. In Northern France, a mediocre doctor (Oklahoma native Van Heflin) flips for Emma, a pretty, starry-eyed ingénue (Oklahoma native Jennifer Jones); their story is told framing-story style by Flaubert himself (British-born James Mason). OK, so there aren't a lot of actual French people in this movie. But at least one of the men Emma Bovary cheats on her husband with is the tres magnifique Louis Jourdan.

The tale is about how the titular wife destroys the lives of various people, including her own, because of how bored she gets with everything and everybody. It's a sad story, well told, although it made me hungry to know some of the novel's details that were obviously carved away to make this 115-minute film. (I'll probably pick up the 1975 British miniseries on DVD, featuring Tom Conti.) As with The Ox-Bow Incident from earlier in Forties Week, it was amusing to see Harry "Colonel Potter" Morgan from TV's M*A*S*H in his earlier days, albeit in a microscopic role. Rating: 4/5.

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