That’s the feeling I had once I sat down to watch Warner Bros.’s 1961 version of “Fanny” — an adaptation of French novelist/playwright/filmmaker Marcel Pagnol‘s trilogy, “Marius” (1929), “Fanny” (1931) and “César” (1936). As the story began to develop, I realized that I had seen this story just recently in the 1964 French musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” — the exact same story and my boy Marius was done dirty man, I felt so bad for him (and it was remade even more recently by the French in 2013 — I’ll have to check that version out too I guess).
“Fanny” is the story of a somewhat tragic love triangle between the young Marius (Horst Buchholz), Fanny (Leslie Caron — romantic lead of one of my all-time faves “An American in Paris”) and the rich, much older Panisse (Maurice Chevalier). First of all, I came across this film (even though I have a nagging feeling that isn’t the first time I’ve seen this version and I’ve possibly watched this in my youth on TCM) in a circuitous manner after falling down a classic French film rabbit hole and coming across the German actor Horst Buchholz. Secondly, the film has Caron, Chevalier and Charles Boyer — if you’re a classic Hollywood enthusiast like myself, you can’t got wrong with this lineup (the film was even nominated for 5 Oscars that year). And Boyer and Chevalier’s portrayals were captivating and those two stole the show — so give it a watch.
“Fanny” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Mubi.