Letters from My Windmill

Pagnol adapted three Provençal stories by noted author Alphonse Daudet to make a film “of marvelous comic worth” (New Yorker). In the first two, the director's skepticism about the clergy (so delicately needled in The Baker's Wife) meets his worship of a good meal, a cup of wine, and . . . In “The Three Low Masses,” a chaplain whose thoughts linger on the Christmas feast temptingly described to him by the Devil himself has trouble achieving a state of grace; in “The Elixir of Father Gauchet,” a padre who brews liqueur to raise a few francs to do God's work has a similar obstacle to transcendence. “The Secret of Master Corneille” brings in the loaf of bread, in a mystery of a miller whose windmill has turned for twenty years, despite the advent of modern steam mills.

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