A minor gem of pre-war French cinema, about a small bourgeois town invaded by Spanish soldiers in early 17th-century Flanders. Feyder declared his intention of bringing to life Flemish painting, an end he achieves nearly perfectly through a combination of masterly use of studio sets and costumes and Harry Stradling's gorgeous photography. Faced by the cowardly reaction of their burgher husbands, the women of the town decide to save themselves by preparing a lavish welcoming feast for the bloodthirsty Spaniards. The film is distinctly ambiguous about which appetites are being satisfied and how, and about the politics of occupation - is it advocating collaboration or subversion? For this reason, Feyder found it wise to exile himself from Nazi-occupied France a few years later. Either way, though, it remains a distinctly amiable sex comedy.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Charles Spaak, Jacques Feyder|