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Based on the novel by Dorothy Bussy (originally published pseudonymously), Olivia is set in a French girls' boarding school late in the 19th century, and deals with suppressed love, idolatry and inner conflict, a million miles away from infantile crushes on 'Miss'. Perhaps a little long, it narrowly misses being maudlin and hammy thanks to the performance by Edwige Feuillère as the charismatic head teacher, Mademoiselle Julie, on whom Olivia more than dotes. Although the main theme is self-control and self-will, references and innuendoes point to lesbian love, and it's not hard to imagine that in the '50s the censors' eyebrows would have shot up (eleven minutes were in fact cut on its first release in this country). Today it seems perfect viewing for a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Release details

Duration: 94 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jacqueline Audry
Screenwriter: Colette Audry, Pierre Laroche
Cast: Edwige Feuillère
Simone Simon
Marie-Claire Olivia
Yvonne de Bray
Suzanne Dehelly
Marina de Berg
Lesley Maynard
Rita Roanda
Danièle Delorme
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