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Time Out says
The first of a trilogy set in Marcel Pagnol's home town of Marseilles (to be followed by Fanny and César), this centres on the decision of Marius (Fresnay) to answer the call of the sea, despite opposition from his father César (Raimu), and despite his love for Fanny (Demazis). Some sniffy critics thought that playwright Pagnol shouldn't have dabbled in celluloid at all: Richard Griffith, in The Film Since Then, considered his output 'not part of a purposeful cinema'. In place of purpose, these films display such old-fashioned virtues as truth to life and boundless humanity; they also contain some of the fruitiest acting under the sun, particularly from Raimu. This first instalment, notably more boisterous than the others, was directed by Korda on a whistle-stop tour of France; by the end of the year he had crossed the Channel, and the rest, as they say, is history.