Discussion:
THE WELL-DIGGER’S DAUGHTER (1940)
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Bill Anderson
2020-04-21 22:46:51 UTC
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The DVD arrived today. It’s another Marcel Pagnol movie that I really wanted to watch, but I had to give up. It’s the problem Calvin Rice described regarding his copy of FANNY: no shades of gray. The light elements are washed-out white, and the darks are just black, and the subtitles are illegible. I also ordered a copy of the 1991 Daniel Autueil Version, which seems to have become lost in the mail. This is a big disappointment.


Bill Anderson

I am the Mighty Favog
Manfred Polak
2020-04-22 19:51:49 UTC
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Post by Bill Anderson
The DVD arrived today. It’s another Marcel Pagnol movie that I really
wanted to watch, but I had to give up. It’s the problem Calvin Rice
described regarding his copy of FANNY: no shades of gray. The light
elements are washed-out white, and the darks are just black, and the
subtitles are illegible.
This is a pity, because there is a restored version of the film with
decent image quality. See these screenshots I just made randomly:

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Manfred
Bill Anderson
2020-04-23 13:32:55 UTC
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Post by Manfred Polak
Post by Bill Anderson
The DVD arrived today. It’s another Marcel Pagnol movie that I really
wanted to watch, but I had to give up. It’s the problem Calvin Rice
described regarding his copy of FANNY: no shades of gray. The light
elements are washed-out white, and the darks are just black, and the
subtitles are illegible.
This is a pity, because there is a restored version of the film with
http://home.mnet-online.de/polak/La_fille_du_puisatier_01.jpg
http://home.mnet-online.de/polak/La_fille_du_puisatier_02.jpg
http://home.mnet-online.de/polak/La_fille_du_puisatier_03.jpg
Beautiful. Manfred, where can I find the restored version with English
subtitles? I have Googled everywhere and can't even find an English
language .srt file that I could burn into the copy of the unrestored
film I've made from the DVD. I've tried passing the copy through
Premiere but no amount of experimenting with color/contrast/brightness
etc. helps at all. If the scene is in bright daylight, and you know how
Pagnol loves his en plein air, the subtitles are hopelessly washed out.

I should have a copy of the 2011 version but Amazon is telling me that
it's been "delayed" and if I haven't received it by tomorrow I should
get back to them to re-order or to get a refund. I will re-order.
--
Bill Anderson

I am the Mighty Favog
Manfred Polak
2020-04-23 14:58:21 UTC
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Post by Bill Anderson
Post by Manfred Polak
This is a pity, because there is a restored version of the film with
http://home.mnet-online.de/polak/La_fille_du_puisatier_01.jpg
http://home.mnet-online.de/polak/La_fille_du_puisatier_02.jpg
http://home.mnet-online.de/polak/La_fille_du_puisatier_03.jpg
Beautiful. Manfred, where can I find the restored version with English
subtitles?
This version was restored in 2019, and it aired on a French-German
TV station a few months ago, with German subtitles in Germany and
no subs, of course, in France. It was also available for streaming and
download for a month or so.

I think there might be a French DVD or Blu-ray of this version within
one or two years. French disks sometimes have English subs, but
often have not, and they are sometimes region-free and sometimes
not ...

There is a French Blu-ray of a restored version of Pagnol's "Angèle"
with subs, but it is region B, according to Amazon:

https://www.amazon.fr/Ang%C3%A8le-Version-Restaur%C3%A9e-Orane-Demazis/dp/B07KBRZ7KW/


Manfred
Bill Anderson
2020-04-23 23:02:14 UTC
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The 2011 version of Daniel Autueil’ 2011 version of the WELL-DIGGER’S DAUGHTER Finally showed up today and I have watched it. It is terrific, I think. And now that I have seen a version with subtitles I can read, I suspect I can muddle through the original version even missing words here and there. I think I will see them both before I write them up.


Bill Anderson

I am the Mighty Favog
william ahearn
2020-04-26 01:21:34 UTC
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Post by Bill Anderson
The 2011 version of Daniel Autueil’ 2011 version of the WELL-DIGGER’S DAUGHTER Finally showed up today and I have watched it. It is terrific, I think. And now that I have seen a version with subtitles I can read, I suspect I can muddle through the original version even missing words here and there. I think I will see them both before I write them up.
It's on Kanopy.
Bill Anderson
2020-04-26 13:50:24 UTC
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Thanks, William. I was unaware of KanopyAnd now that I have browsed through their collection I am very impressed. The problem is that my local library doesn’t have a subscription. And now that I have read up on Kanopy’s pricing scheme, I think I understand why. Too bad; it’s a great collection.


Bill Anderson

I am the Mighty Favog
Mack A. Damia
2020-04-23 16:10:06 UTC
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Post by Manfred Polak
The DVD arrived today. It’s another Marcel Pagnol movie that I really
wanted to watch, but I had to give up. It’s the problem Calvin Rice
described regarding his copy of FANNY: no shades of gray. The light
elements are washed-out white, and the darks are just black, and the
subtitles are illegible.
This is a pity, because there is a restored version of the film with
http://home.mnet-online.de/polak/La_fille_du_puisatier_01.jpg
http://home.mnet-online.de/polak/La_fille_du_puisatier_02.jpg
http://home.mnet-online.de/polak/La_fille_du_puisatier_03.jpg
Are you guys aware of "The Well Digger's Butt"?

Action takes place in Montana during the winter, and it's very cold.
Bill Anderson
2020-04-28 21:03:28 UTC
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Post by Bill Anderson
The DVD arrived today. It’s another Marcel Pagnol movie that I really wanted to watch, but I had to give up. It’s the problem Calvin Rice described regarding his copy of FANNY: no shades of gray. The light elements are washed-out white, and the darks are just black, and the subtitles are illegible. I also ordered a copy of the 1991 Daniel Autueil Version, which seems to have become lost in the mail. This is a big disappointment.
And now I have seen the 1940 and 2011 versions of THE WELL-DIGGER'S
DAUGHTER.

It's a fine story, no real surprises, the same plot in both movies of
course, all played out in Marcel Pagnol's trademark Provence. An humble
well-digger, a widower, is raising five daughters, the oldest of whom
goes a bit too far in celebrating her 18th birthday with a rich and
handsome aviator, the son of a prominent local family. To his surprise,
his Captain shows up later that evening and takes the young man away to
war, leaving the girl behind and, as she discovers a couple of months
later, pregnant.

The bulk of the story focuses on familial traditions in Provence, how
all this is handled, what a proud father must do with a wayward
daughter, what happens to the baby, can the child really be allowed to
take his maternal grandfather's name, do the paternal grandparents have
any claims when they learn their son has died in combat and the
grandchild they denied earlier is all they have left of him, and on and
on. Family. Love, grief, new life, tradition, the important stuff.

The 2011 version is gorgeously photographed in color, the acting and
casting are superb, and the dialogue by Marcel Pagnol is reliably
beautiful and moving. The newer version is terrific and I recommend it
without reservation.

The 1940 version I saw is a washed-out B&W print with English subtitles
that fade into the scenery so completely they are often illegible. I had
to watch the 2011 version first so I at least had an idea what was being
said in the 1940 version. The plan worked pretty well, but still I was
left disappointed often as major speeches were lost in the faded print.
I could not recommend anyone watch the 1940 print of THE WELL-DIGGER'S
DAUGHTER that I saw. I wouldn't have watched it all the way through
either if I hadn't just a) paid for a copy; and b) decided to fight
social distance boredom by comparing the two movies.

The big difference I found between the two movies was in directorial
technique. Director (and star) Daniel Auteuil's 2011 version played out
much like any other modern movie with camera angles and editing and
pacing that never drew attention to themselves. Marcel Pagnol's 1940
version, on the other hand, was almost in-your-face odd at times. More
than once he put his characters in a medium close-up and held it,
steady, no cutting away, while discussions, arguments, solo speeches
would go on for several minutes at a time. I think we're not accustomed
to that style of filmmaking these days, but I have to say that while the
shots did call attention to themselves, they worked just fine. They
added to the charm of the movie. But...disappointment again...the
subtitles for the well-digger's speech about his decision to exile his
fallen daughter from the family were displayed over a white stone wall
and I could read none of it. Too bad.

Finally -- the actors. Everybody in the 2011 version was excellent, no
complaints from me. The film's director, Daniel Autueil, also played the
part of the well-digger to perfection. Just a wonderful performance.

But there were three performances in the 1940 version that proved
unforgettable. Raimu (Cesar from the Marseilles Trilogy) was the poor
but proud well-digger Pascal Amoretti, and as in the earlier movies the
play of emotions across his middle-aged face was a wonder to behold. He
loves his daughter, he can't let her stay, he must cut off all contact,
his heart is broken, he meets the baby, his resolve is broken... It's so
well done.

And then there's Charpin (M. Panisse from the Marseilles Trilogy) as the
aviator's father, M. Mazel -- so dignified, so shocked, shocked in front
of his wife that their son could have fathered a child (of course he
knew about the boy's apartment in town), so distraught that with the
death of his son the family line will come to an end, unless...the baby...

Let's not forget Fernandel (M. Topaze from TOPAZE) who I liked much
better in this movie. (Raimu, Charpin, Fernandel -- the French sure were
stingy with their names.) His ugly mug proved perfectly suited to the
part of the assistant well-digger Felipe who had to settle for daughter
number two.

Both versions of THE WELL-DIGGER'S DAUGHTER are fine movies, but I
recommend you watch the 2011 version...unless you can find a restored
1940 version. Which reminds me: yesterday the postman delivered to my
door a newly-restored Criterion Blu-Ray special edition of Marcel
Pagnol's THE BAKER'S WIFE which I intend to watch ASAP. It's not like
I've just discovered Pagnol -- I've known for years that his stuff was
great. It's just that for some reason I seem to have a lot of time on my
hands lately and I'm looking for interesting diversions and I'm finding
Marcel Pagnol's work meets my needs just fine. I do love a good movie.
--
Bill Anderson

I am the Mighty Favog
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