Yeah, it's not very good, but it really did have a very deep emotional impact on me. The old Charles Laughton version is so much better:
But let me get to my point. I learn from the obit that Delannoy was the sort of director that the French New Wave directors were rebelling against:
Mr. Delannoy had worked in the film industry for two decades when, in 1954, François Truffaut, then a 21-year-old critic for the film journal Cahiers du Cinéma, wrote his controversial article “A Certain Trend in French Film.”This is important!
In the article Truffaut attacked France’s commercial cinema and its so-called tradition of quality, as exemplified by Mr. Delannoy and certain colleagues, and advocated in its place auteurism, a new, director-centered filmmaking style, which Truffaut came to embrace as a filmmaker. Established French directors, Truffaut wrote, had failed to express their personalities or espouse a worldview. He said that the worst of Jean Renoir’s movies would always be more interesting than the best of Mr. Delannoy’s.
Stung, Mr. Delannoy responded by letter, calling the criticism “so low that I have never encountered anything like it in my 20 years in the profession.” He believed that a director’s job was to realize the work of the scriptwriters; Truffaut considered that attitude contemptuous of film as an art form.
Jean-Luc Godard shared Truffaut’s opinion, once suggesting that when Mr. Delannoy carried a briefcase to the studio, he might as well be going to an insurance office.
Mr. Delannoy responded by writing an article for The New York Times. The film industry, he wrote, was “dying of infantilism.”Wait! He responded by writing an article for The New York Times?! Where is the link?!!!
Now, I've had a little side project — which, admittedly, I've been ignoring for the last week or so — where I blog from the NYT archive for a date in the past as if I were blogging the news today. And I've struggled with the way the Times limits access to the archive for the years 1923 to 1986). Efforts to limit access to the current issue — the "TimesSelect" program — failed. But the partly closed historical archive remains. I'd love to be able to link to the old articles freely. They can't be getting much traffic. Why not let them burst out to a big audience when someone wants to talk about something, like what Jean Delannoy wrote in 1952 about the French New Wave?
The Times itself should be sending us back into its archive. It's boneheaded not to link to the old article by Delannoy!
So I'll have to be the one to go back and dig it out for you. It's here if you want to pay for access (or have an educational account and can get to 100 articles a month). Now, I'm reading the article, and it doesn't seem to be much of a response to Truffaut:
[T]he torture of the cinema in the world is, for the most part, due to the tightening of censorship....He expresses concern that the movie "Savage Triangle" will be shown in New York for adults only.
The censors act in good faith, in the name of morality. But what is curious is that morality is not the same in one country as another....
All censorships are mistaken because they judge on the basis of pre-established criteria and not on the basis of intention. First and foremost, a film affects the understanding of an audience.... What the public looks for in the dimmed rooms is shocks, and emotions. Films that call upon the intelligence are rare and have only limited success....
[I]f I had a boy of 14, I would prefer him to get to know some "savage boys" as the one in the film, rather than to nourish himself solely on the violence of Robin Hood with his special interpretation of justice, or the ideas he has on religion, in the person of Friar Tuck, the monk with the cudgel who supports him.One reason not to link to the archive — a terrible reason — is that the old articles don't actually support the point you are citing them for! Delannoy isn't responding to Truffaut here. He's pissed off at censors (and Robin Hood).
The cinema is dying of infantilism. Will censorship finish the job?
ADDED: There is a short paragraph that appears between the discussion of Truffaut and the reference to Delannoy's old article:
Mr. Delannoy had earlier had his own complaints about the industry, partly because of censorship. “L’Éternel Retour” (“The Eternal Return”), a retelling of the Tristan and Isolde story, was condemned by the Legion of Decency in 1948. “Le Garçon Sauvage” (“The Wild Boy,” released in the United States in 1952 as “Savage Triangle”), the story of a Marseilles prostitute and her son, also ran afoul of censors.
The old article did support that paragraph. I incorrectly assumed that the new paragraph, which began "Mr. Delannoy responded by writing an article for The New York Times," referred back to the Truffaut criticism.