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The Baker's Wife

(French 1938 b 127')

En: 7 Ed: 7

Adapted from Jean Giono's novel, a new baker stops making bread after his pretty wife runs off with a young man; but the town gets her to come back.

Antonin (Charles Blavette) asks his neighbor to trim the elm trees that shade his garden. The priest (Robert Vattier) complains that the teacher (Robert Bassac) said that Joan of Arc only thought she heard voices. The new baker Aimable Castinier (Raimu) has a pretty wife, and his fresh bread is popular. The Marquis of Venelles (Fernand Charpin) says his shepherd Dominique (Charles Moulin) will pick up bread twice a week. Aurélie Castinier (Ginette Leclerc) puts the bread in Dominique's sack seductively. Aimable and Aurélie sleep together and are serenaded by Dominique in Italian. She goes down to give him something, and Dominique says how she embraced him and planned to run away with him. Aurélie leaves at 5 a.m., and Aimable's oven is found in smoke because she did not wake him. Aimable looks for her and says she went to her mother.

In church the priest preaches about the woman who ran away. Aimable learns that Aurélie was kissing Dominique. Aimable orders a bottle and gets drunk, saying he won't bake except for her. The Marquis and the priest hear of it. Aimable rambles on and collapses. He staggers home and tries to hang himself; but men cut him down. The Marquis tells Aimable that Maillefer (Edouard Delmont) saw his wife, but Maillefer describes how he caught a fish. Aimable makes him say where they are, and Maillefer says that Aurélie was singing naked with Dominique.

Aimable asks the priest to bring her back. Maillefer says the swamp is dangerous. So the Marquis tells the teacher to carry the priest over the swamp, and he does so. Dominique lies next to Aurélie and hears them. He quarrels with Aurélie and swims away. The priest quotes how Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery. The teacher tells Aimable and the Marquis that Aurélie will return in the dark. The Marquis assures Aimable that he will send Dominique to Provence. Angele watches to see Aurélie but runs from the teacher. The priest brings Aurélie home. She asks Aimable to forgive her, and he welcomes her. Aimable gives her his dinner and confesses that he drank and stopped baking except one for her. Aimable calls his returning cat a slut and asks what difference being handsome makes. Aurélie cries and says she won't go away again. Aimable lets her light the fire in his oven.

In this charming comedy directed by Marcel Pagnol the quality of the baker's bread is compared to the beauty of his wife. Water is plentiful, but people must pray for bread and don't want to do without it. Thus the mayor, priest, and teacher make sure the wife returns to the one who bakes it.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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