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Diary of a Chambermaid

5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Legendary director Jean Renoir's film version of Octave Mirbeau's novel, Diary of a Chambermaid was adapted for the screen by Burgess Meredith. Paulette Goddard (Modern Times) plays the title character, a sexy and saucy servant named Celestine, whose forthrightness has a curious effect on a wealthy Parisian household. Determined to elevate her lot in life, Celestine uses her unsubtle charms to beguile the master of the household. Burgess Meredith (Rocky) delivers an astonishing performance as Captain Mauger, the bizarre and shell-shocked neighbor and Judith Anderson (Rebecca) is equally great as the mistress of the household. Luis Bu¤uel remade Diary of a Chambermaid in 1964 with Jeanne Moreau in the lead.

Product Details

  • Actors: Paulette Goddard, Burgess Meredith, Hurd Hatfield, Francis Lederer, Judith Anderson
  • Directors: Jean Renoir
  • Writers: Burgess Meredith, Octave Mirbeau
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Original recording remastered
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AOO5R5A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,941 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "scotsladdie" on January 27, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
A much-praised and criticised film. Goddard is an enterprising young chambermaid who wants nothing more than to wed a rich man. As love would have it, a penniless valet becomes enamoured of her; he tries to win her the only way he can....France's great director, Jean Renoir (son of the immortal impressionist painter Augustus) was known for his realism in his French films. This picture, however, done during the director's Hollywood years reeks of artificiality. Upon its release in 1946, it met with disapproval with the studio system, and it was shunned by his French patrons. Perhaps egotistically, but most likely, they insisted that his best work was done in France, which is probably true. However, Renoir was unique and his humanism and morality breaks through here; a brilliantly oddball film which blends the serious and the comic. Francis Lederer is menacing as Joseph, Burgess Merideth is amusing as the eccentric Captain Mauger and Irene "Granny" Ryan has a memorable cameo as Louise, the timid maid.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 16, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
A mystery to audiences because its equivocal moralism when it premiered in 1946, "The Diary of a Chambermaid" is now considered one of Jean Renoir's key works for unlocking his contemplation of the many facets of human nature. This film is a faithful adaptation of the spirit of Octave Mirbeau's novel, exhibiting decidedly French sensibilities because of its expatriate director, cinematographer (Lucien Andriot) and composer (Michel Michelet). For that matter the novel had been a play written by Andre Heuse, Andre de Lorde and Thielly Nores, although actor Burgess Meredith had a hand in writing the screenplay.
This film is most reminiscent of his examination of the dark, sinister and ugly side of life as in "La Bete Humaine" and "La Chienne," that manages to be both a social satire and a perverse tragedy. Renoir's moralistic tone comes through, even with the surface levity of the characters, portrayed by an international cast. Celestine (Paulette Goddard) the chambermaid has a new job in the country estate of the Lanlaires (Reginald Owen and Judith Anderson), where she hopes to use her beauty to seduce a wealthy man. Three men from three different social classes with three different perspectives on the world vie for her attention: Young Georges Lanlaire (Reginald), who has come back home; one of the neighbors, the ex-officer Captain Mauger (Burgess Meredith); and the Lanlaires' depraved valet Joseph (Francis Lederer in the film's most memorable performance).
"The Diary of a Chambermaid" is filled with disquieting moments, such as when Mauger crushes his pet squirrel to death or Joseph kills a goose with a long needle, while Madame Lanlaire frets possessively over the family silver.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Felipe N. Gajate on February 16, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Only a true French artist like Jean Renoir could have achieved the perfect realization of this French classic novel. Tha casting, acting, settings and direction are simply brilliant. A hardly seen film that deserves to be seen.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sunshine on July 14, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Good
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2 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gandolfa Stegmann on July 15, 2013
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I had to keep reminding myself of when his films were made as I found this one a bit silly.
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