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La Chienne (The Bitch)

La Chienne (The Bitch) (1931)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 708

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Movie Info

Jean Renoir's first sound film was a bitter and highly controversial psychological drama, so controversial that it was never shown in the United States until 1975, 44 years after its original French release. Maurice (Michel Simon) is a meek bank clerk trapped in a marriage with a harridan named Adele (Magdelaine Berubet). Maurice's sole pleasure in life is painting, a hobby he avidly pursues on weekends. One day, Maurice sees a woman on the street being beaten by a man; he steps in to rescue



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All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (0)

Very cleverly made and beautifully acted.

May 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wonderfully moving, with great performances.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All of the performances are close to flawless, but it's Renoir's unseen presense one remembtrs most vividly.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Jean Renoir's first sound feature (1931) and one of his best.

April 26, 2001 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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The three leads gave superb performances.

January 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An often-overlooked highlight of Renoir's momentous career that was well worth the 44-year wait.

August 30, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's not a major piece of work, but the acting and direction ensure that it's watchable.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Even with this pulp material, Renoir manages moments of great beauty and humanity.

February 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

One of those great over-looked films.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for La Chienne (The Bitch)

this is renoir's slightly more humanist take on the same material fritz lang used for 'scarlet street'. he wasn't hampered by the production code so the mistress here is an actual streetwalker in love with her pimp who treats her miserably. michel simon is top notch in the role later played by edward g robinson and i can't pick my favorite between these two. an interesting sidenote: michel simon falls for janie marèse, as he did in real life, while marèse fell for georges flamant, a professional criminal and amateur actor, who plays the pimp. renoir and the producers had encouraged their relationship for the sake of their performances. after the film's completion, flamant took marèse for a drive, crashing the car and killing her. simon fainted at the funeral and blamed renoir for her death, threatening to shoot him. "kill me if you like", responded renoir, "but I have made the film"
July 11, 2012
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

a jean renoir socialistic satire upon the petite bourgeoise..the storyline goes with an elder timid accountant who leads a pathetic life overruled by his critically dispiteful wife, he gets infatuated with a streetwalker one day then fends her as his kept mistress. unfortunately this whore is a miserable slave to her sadistic flanerie pimp, and these two discover the artistic painting talent of this dull acountant, thereafter merchandising his art as their fodder of luxurious living under her name. randomly the accountant murders the prostitue in a rage of passion, but the pimp gets executed for this crime instead. eventually the accountant becomes a shady vagabond on street.

rarely known to most, edward g. robinson's "scarlet street" is fritz lang's adaption from renoir's french original "the bitch"....lang's approach centers more on the psychological interactive drama between these three. lang softens it by transforming the prostitute as a showgirl, the pimp as just an amateur womanizer, the sucker as an ingenuine who longs to live vigorously...lang emphasizes more on the mental trauma of guilt from the main character, thus it's interpretated as the personal tragedy of a romantic steer.

as for renoir's "the bitch", it's social criticism: the pimp stands for the nouveau riche who lies upon the resources of the ghetto(the prostitute) to make his rising fortune by exploiting the bourgeois(the accountant), even including his soothing inspiration of art...the pimp drives his cadillac to extort money from the whore, parking his flashy roadster in the crowd of common people that hinders their daily function, coincidentally he arrives in the bad timing to be the scapegoat of the crime he hasn't's renoir's severe condemnation on the amoral nouveau riche. after the bourgeois' fund has been drained up, he wanders in the street as ragged bum, cadging small cashes from the merchandizer who purchases the last portrait of himself(his own work) in the antic shop.
November 22, 2007
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

Renoir did this noir before the movement began
June 1, 2007

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • La Chienne (1931) (DE)
  • La Chienne (UK)
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