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Le Beau Serge (1958)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0

audience

74

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 450

My Rating

Movie Info

Le Beau Serge was the first film of French critic-turned-director Claude Chabrol. Though not a murder melodrama, the film is heavily influenced by the works of Chabrol's idol Alfred Hitchcock, Shadow of a Doubt in particular. Ailing city dweller Francois (Jean-Claude Brialy) makes a therapeutic return visit to his home town in the country. Here he visits childhood friend Serge (Gerard Blain), and is appalled to find how far Serge has plummeted into alcoholism and self-pity. The two protagonists

Unrated,

Drama

Sep 19, 2011

Criterion Collection

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Le Beau Serge

August 1, 2013:
Bernadette Lafont: 1938-2013
The French New Wave actress, who appeared in more than 100 films, has passed away at the age of 74.

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All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (0) | DVD (5)

It presents a bleak, beautifully observed picture of provincial life, later revisited to even more stunning effect in Le Boucher.

September 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An important new French director, Claude Chabrol, is unveiled in this pic.

September 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It has a certain fascination as Chabrol's first practical (as opposed to critical) encounter with mise en scene.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Part mock-neorealist homoerotic foxtrot, part obsessively symmetrical Cahiers du Cinéma analysis of Hitchcock's I Confess

February 7, 2014 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

Chabrol didn't work out his film-making kinks until his next pictures.

April 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Whether or not (it) was the start of the New Wave, it was the start of Chabrol.

October 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

evokes a somber and deeply felt sense of shared humanity

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Le Beau Serge received overwhelming critical approval of its use of non-professional actors, raw black-and-white photography (masterfully executed by Henri Decae), and personal vision.

September 19, 2011 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Le Beau Serge

Claude Chabrol's feature debut, "Le Beau Serge," isn't as strong as his subsequent "Les Cousins" (which stars the same two actors), but it's still an engrossing, thoughtful look at love and friendship. Francois (Jean-Claude Brialy) is a sensitive young man who returns to his small village after a debilitating lung illness. Sadly, he finds his once-promising friend Serge (Gerard Blain) deteriorated into drunken misery. Serge has a lousy job, a bad attitude and a sad relationship with a pregnant wife whom he doesn't love. Francois (who has a faint messiah complex) has unrealistic ambitions to inspire Serge and the other townsfolk out of their resigned mundanity, but trouble starts when he courts a wanton teenager (Bernadette Lafont) with a belligerent, jealous caretaker. "Serge" seems a bit soft when compared with many other French New Wave films -- especially given its somewhat syrupy, intrusive score -- but Lafont's sexy, calculating character adds some edge. Watch for assistant director Philippe de Broca (later, a successful filmmaker on his own) briefly appearing as a friend knowingly named "Jacques Rivette." Warning: The TCM print I saw had two surprising external flaws. The lazy subtitles opted to skip far too much "trivial" dialogue, and the film image had some notable blemishes in the last 15 minutes. In a work only dating from the late 1950s, the latter seems inexcusable.
May 15, 2014
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Le Beau Serge is the first film by Claude Chabrol and in his debut creates a wonderful Drama with solid acting and amazing artistic characteristics. The film which was shot in his own childhood village really adds to the feel of the story and made for a beautiful location. In one of the supplementary features the Director now in his old age talks about going back there and how he does so often. Many of the actors meet one another in the village where many still reside to this day, what a fascinating and wonderful place! The story is one that is very down to earth and focuses on tough and emotional topics and make it a heart wrenching watch that is wonderful to view. This is a hugely influential film in the French New Wave, some argue it's the first, but either way it is truly a fascinating gem!
November 10, 2011
Chris Browning

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Der schöne Serge (DE)
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