Diary of a Chambermaid (1946)
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Celestine, a French servant girl (Paulette Goddard), decides she's had enough of kowtowing to her masters, struggles with the gold-digging side of her nature, and eventually crashes through the class barrier to find true love, symbolically on Bastille Day. Renoir's American movies are generally not up to the standard of his best work, and "Diary of a Chambermaid" is no exception. Tonally it is rather uneven, and one suspects that a lightening or a darkening of Burgess Meredith's script could equally have improved it. Although they're never remotely convincing, the 'exterior' sets are quite grand, and Renoir makes good use of them with his fluid camerawork. The cast is good: Goddard as Celestine, Meredith as an impish ball of energy and Judith Anderson (Hitchcock's Mrs Danvers from "Rebecca") as an indomitable matriarch. Francis Lederer and Hurd Hatfield, as two of Goddard's suitors, a wicked valet and a consumptive aristocrat, respectively, each deliver their lines rather stiffly, but each, also, has a magnetic screen presence.
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