Gervaise (1956)






Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Emile Zola's obscure novel entitled "L'Assommoir" has been made into several films. This is one of the best. In this two hour movie an entire mini-series worth of problems have been compressed about a young woman to whom life has dealt hard blows. Set in the 19th-century, this woman deals with an alcoholic husband while doing everything within her power to keep the family together. An incredibly depressing movie in which the protagonist keeps on trying no matter what besets her, the performances … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Émile Zola, Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 15, 2009
Corona Films

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as Gervaise Macquart

as Virginie

as Mon. Boche

as Pere Colombe

as Mon. Lorilleaux

as Mme. Lorilleaux

as M. Poisson

as Maman Coupeau

as M. Gaudron

as Mme. Gaudron

as M. Madinier

as Mon. Lorilleaux

as Mme. Fauconnier

as Zidore

as Mme. Bijard

as Etienne at 8

as Etienne at 13

as The fishmonger

as Classmate

as Policeman

as Presiding judge

as Bec Salé

as Claude - the son of ...

as Boche's son

as Augustine

as Henri Coupeau
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Critic Reviews for Gervaise

All Critics (2)

Grim period film of 19th century Paris that encompasses the human condition.

Full Review… | February 26, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Maria Schell (sister of Maximillian) givs a touching performance in Rene Clement's screen version of Emile Zola's grim social-realist novel, which was nominated for an Oscar in 1956.

Full Review… | December 29, 2008

Audience Reviews for Gervaise

Gervaise(Maria Schell) has two children, a bad leg, but no husband, living with Lantier(Armand Mestral), the father of her children. That changes when he leaves her which she finds out when her children show up at her workplace, a laundry, where some of her co-workers display less than sympathy. Defending her family's honor, Gervaise wins a ten round fight with Virginie(Suzy Delair) by TKO. Two years later, she is now married to Coupeau(Francois Perier), a roofer, and they have a daughter together. Even with that, Gervaise dreams of opening a shop of her own...

"Gervaise" is a powerful and skillfully filmed movie, set amongst the working class of Paris in the 1860's(The Crimean War was in the past while Emperor Napoleon III is still in power) that attacks hypocrisy(notice the scene in the Louvre) concerning the role of women in society, advising them to to be patient in finding a husband, if they want one. This is a society where only the strong survive, and a single mistake could mean ruin, where Gervaise tries to take a different route by using her brains, even as she has been a mother since she was a teenager.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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