M is for Marie-Louise, winner of Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards ceremony in 1946. This is the only film I could not get my hands on out of all of the films that showed up on my list to write about. Despite not being able to see it, I did some research on the Internet, and was sufficiently intrigued by this story to include information about it here.
Marie-Louise was the first foreign language film to have the honor of winning Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. The film was made in Switzerland, is in black and white, and was released in 1944. The languages spoken in the film are French and Swiss German. The subtitles are in German and French only.
Here is the trailer for Marie-Louise: Marie-Louise (trailer)
This trailer was on the website for the Zurich Film Festival, archived in 2015, which is the year they featured the film during their very extensive and diverse screenings. They said they were showing a fully restored digital version of the film. The cinematography appears to be quite good and of better quality than some of the other black and white films I’ve reviewed for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
I found two reviewers who had watched what were probably bootlegged copies of the film, and their reviews were enlightening. One reviewer said she laboriously translated the film into English so she could understand most of the dialogue. Marie-Louise is a French girl, perhaps about 12 years old, who was evacuated to Switzerland in 1943 during the Nazi occupation of France. After three months, it is time to return to France, and Marie-Louise is understandably reluctant to go back. Some synopses of the film state that she has become a spoiled brat, while others feel that her behavior is due to the traumatic experiences she endured in France. Her home was bombed, her brother killed, and she is a shell-shocked teen who understandably is fearful going back into what she fears is still a war zone. Why she is being sent back there after three months, I could not discover. It may have been after the liberation of France.
Scenes another reviewer wrote about that stood out to him were the initial air raid sequence; a tender moment when Marie-Louise’s Swiss surrogate family gives her a dollhouse that is a replica of her home in France; and a funeral scene where four people killed in the air raid speak from the great beyond about their lives. It is mentioned that Marie-Louise attempts to run from the train meant to return her to France, trying to protect one cherished keepsake. What that keepsake might be is not mentioned.
Given this film was in production while World War II was still in progress, it must have been heartbreaking and even stressful for the actors involved to make, especially the children. It is unfortunate it is not available for widespread audiences. I think I would have enjoyed watching Marie-Louise. Have you seen it?