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Les enfants du Paradis 2: At the Rouge Gorge September 17, 2006

Posted by Jeff in 1929 through WWII, Children of Paradise, Movies, Theater.
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Accompanied by his new friend, the maybe-not-so-blind beggar Fil de Soie (Silk Thread) (Gaston Modot), Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) encounters Garance (Arletty), whom he has not seen since he saved her from the police in front of the Funambules. Despite Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand) and his henchman Avril (Fabien Loris), Baptiste will not be deterred:

Pierre Renoir, who played Jericho the ragpicker, was the brother of director Jean Renoir. The actor originally cast in the role, Robert Le Vigan, was a member of the French Populist Party, a right-wing pro-fascist group, who proclaimed his anti-Semitism and advocated total collaboration with the German authorities. As the Allies landed in Sicily, Le Vigan fled and abandoned his role in the film. Back in Paris, he was forced to flee once more as the French capital was about to be liberated in August 1944.

Alongside his friend, the fascist author Louis-Ferdinand Céline, he sought refuge in Germany. He was arrested as he was trying to cross the Swiss border and sent back to France. At his trial in 1946, ex-colleagues including Jean-Louis Barrault gave evidence for the defense and tried to prove that Le Vigan was only a weak creature led astray by Céline. Despite these appeals for clemency, Le Vigan was sentenced to ten years hard labor; he also lost his civil rights as a French citizen and all his assets were confiscated. After three years, he was released on parole and escaped to Spain and then to Argentina, where he lived in poverty until his death in 1972.

More of Les Enfants du Paradis.

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