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|La belle équipe|
|Directed by||Julien Duvivier|
|Written by||Julien Duvivier |
|Produced by||Arys Nissotti|
|Starring|| Jean Gabin |
|Cinematography|| Marc Fossard |
|Edited by||Marthe Poncin|
|Music by||Maurice Yvain|
|Distributed by||Societe d'Edition et de Location de Films|
|15 September 1936|
They Were Five (French: La belle équipe) is a 1936 French drama film directed by Julien Duvivier and starring Jean Gabin, Charles Vanel, and Viviane Romance. It tells the story of five unemployed workers who win the jackpot in the national lottery but their solidarity then proves fragile.
Five unemployed men in Paris are friends. Jeannot, Jacques, and Tintin are bachelors. Charlot (though the rest do not know) has left his faithless wife Gina, while Mario is an illegal immigrant from Spain who has got engaged to Huguette. Suddenly their lives are transformed when their syndicate wins the jackpot in the national lottery.
After much discussion, which Jeannot tends to lead, they agree to pool the money. Rowing up the river Marne, they see a ruined laundry and agree to convert it themselves into a guinguette, a riverside restaurant and dance hall. Living on site and working all day, there is much bonding between the five but fissures also appear.
Tintin plays the fool while on the roof and falls fatally. Jacques disappears with his share of the money. Mario gets notice of expulsion and hastily marries Huguette before complying. This leaves Jeannot and Charlot, who proceed to fall out over Gina, still legally married to Charlot, who not only wants to get her hands on Charlot's share of the winnings but easily seduces the willing Jeannot.
In the original pessimistic ending, Jeannot's jealousy leads him to shoot Charlot dead, while in the re-shot optimistic ending the two men unite as friends against the woman's wiles.
The script was written by Duvivier and Charles Spaak, with Maurice Yvain provided the score. Jean Gabin's song Quand on s'promène au bord de l'eau was written by Duvivier, Yvain and Louis Poterat. Interiors were shot at the Joinville Studios in Joinville-le-Pont, Val-de-Marne, with exteriors at Chennevières-sur-Marne.  The film's sets were designed by the art director Jacques Krauss.
Critics have associated the film with the rise and demise of the Popular Front. The film was made in June and July 1936 and coincided with the early days of the Léon Blum government and the strikes for better conditions. Duvivier was certainly not a Leftist. It should be pointed out nonetheless that Duvivier's portrayal of male friendship gradually being eroded by a woman and by desire for that woman was canonical by 1936, so the film does not limit itself to that reading. If the men in Duvivier's film do not get to fulfil their dream of setting up their guinguette it is because, while economically they can be solidaires—as one, sexually they cannot. On a first level of reading, therefore, it is sex before politics that drives the narrative."  [ clarification needed ]
Jean Gabin was a French actor and singer. Considered a key figure in French cinema, he starred in several classic films including Pépé le Moko (1937), La grande illusion (1937), Le Quai des brumes (1938), La bête humaine (1938), Le jour se lève (1939), and Le plaisir (1952). During his career he had twice won both the Silver Bear for Best Actor from the Berlin International Film Festival and the Volpi Cup for Best Actor from the Venice Film Festival respectively. Gabin was made a member of the Légion d'honneur in recognition of the important role he played in French cinema.
Poetic realism was a film movement in France of the 1930s. More a tendency than a movement, poetic realism is not strongly unified like Soviet montage or French Impressionism but were individuals who created this lyrical style. Its leading filmmakers were Pierre Chenal, Jean Vigo, Julien Duvivier, Marcel Carné, and, perhaps the movement's most significant director, Jean Renoir. Renoir made a wide variety of films some influenced by the leftist Popular Front group and even a lyrical short feature film. Frequent stars of these films were Jean Gabin, Michel Simon, Simone Signoret, and Michèle Morgan.
Julien Duvivier was a French film director and screenwriter. He was prominent in French cinema in the years 1930–1960. Amongst his most original films, chiefly notable are La Bandera, Pépé le Moko, Little World of Don Camillo, Panique, Voici le temps des assassins and Marianne de ma jeunesse.
Pépé le Moko is a 1937 French film directed by Julien Duvivier starring Jean Gabin, based on a novel of the same name by Henri La Barthe and with sets by Jacques Krauss. An example of the 1930s French movement known as poetic realism, it recounts the trapping of a gangster on the run in Algiers, who believes that he is safe from arrest in the Casbah.
The guinguette was a popular drinking establishment in the suburbs of Paris and of other cities in France. Guinguettes would also serve as restaurants and often as dance venues. The origin of the term comes from guinguet, indicating a local sour, light white wine.
Golgotha is a 1935 French film about the death of Jesus Christ, released in English-speaking countries as Behold the Man. The film was directed by Julien Duvivier, and stars Harry Baur as Herod, Jean Gabin as Pontius Pilate, and Robert Le Vigan plays Jesus of Nazareth.
Charles-Marie Vanel was a French actor and director. During his 76-year film career, which began in 1912, he appeared in more than 200 films and worked with many prominent directors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Luis Buñuel, Jacques Feyder, and Henri-Georges Clouzot. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as a desperate truck driver in Clouzot's The Wages of Fear for which he received a Special Mention at the Cannes Film Festival in 1953.
Le Grand Jeu is a 1934 French film directed by Jacques Feyder. It is a romantic drama set against the background of the French Foreign Legion, and the film was an example of poetic realism in the French cinema. The title Le Grand Jeu refers to the practice of reading the cards. Blanche asks whether her client wants the 'full works', the whole story: "Alors... je te fais le grand jeu?"
Gabriel Gabrio was a French stage and film actor whose career began in cinema in the silent film era of the 1920s and spanned more than two decades. Gabrio is possibly best recalled for his roles as Jean Valjean in the 1925 Henri Fescourt-directed adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, Cesare Borgia in the 1935 Abel Gance-directed biopic Lucrèce Borgia and as Carlos in the 1937 Julien Duvivier-directed gangster film Pépé le Moko, opposite Jean Gabin.
Charles Spaak was a Belgian screenwriter who was noted particularly for his work in the French cinema during the 1930s. He was the son of the dramatist and poet Paul Spaak, the brother of the politician Paul-Henri Spaak, and the father of the actresses Catherine Spaak and Agnès Spaak.
Georges Poujouly was a French actor who gained international acclaim as a child for his performance in the award-winning film Forbidden Games. In the 1950s, he appeared in a number of other high-profile films, notably Les Diaboliques, And God Created Woman and Ascenseur pour l'échafaud. His later career was spent mainly in television, where he specialised in voiceover work.
Any Number Can Win is a 1963 French crime drama film directed by Henri Verneuil. The film is based on the novel The Big Grab by Zekial Marko.
Maurice Yvain was a French composer noted for his operettas of the 1920s and 1930s. Some of which were written for Mistinguett, at one time the best-paid female entertainer in the world. In the 1930s and 1940s, he became a major success in the United States and several of his pieces appeared in the famous Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway. He also composed music for several films of notable directors such as Anatole Litvak, Julien Duvivier, and Henri-Georges Clouzot. Yvain's music blended with the then "spirit of Paris".
Micheline Cheirel was a 20th-century French actress, active from 1934 to 1947. She was the niece of the actress Jeanne Cheirel.
Maria Chapdelaine is a 1934 French drama film directed by Julien Duvivier and starring Madeleine Renaud, Jean Gabin and Jean-Pierre Aumont. It is an adaptation of the 1913 novel of the same title by Louis Hémon set in rural Quebec about a young woman who becomes involved with a farmer, trapper and an immigrant drifter from Paris. The story was adapted again for a 1950 film directed by Marc Allégret.
A Certain Monsieur Jo is a 1958 French crime film directed by René Jolivet and starring Michel Simon, Geneviève Kervine and Jacques Morel.
Everybody Wins is a 1930 French-German comedy film directed by René Pujol and Hans Steinhoff and starring Renée Héribel, Gaby Basset and Jean Gabin. It was made as a co-production between France and Germany, with a separate German-language version Headfirst into Happiness also being shot using a different cast.
All That's Not Worth Love is a 1931 French comedy drama film directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Marcel Lévesque, Jean Gabin and Josseline Gaël.
The Assault is a 1936 French drama film directed by Pierre-Jean Ducis and starring Charles Vanel, Alice Field and Madeleine Robinson. It is based on the 1912 play of the same title by Henri Bernstein.