The Well-Digger's Daughter

You wouldn't think there were any fresh narrative options for the girl who becomes pregnant without benefit of clergy, but Pagnol managed three in Fanny, Angèle, and The Well-Digger's Daughter. The stories lie in the reactions of those around her, which run the gamut from the humane to the hysterical. Josette Day, the eponymous offspring in this film made during the Occupation, becomes pregnant by “the hardware store's son,” who is forthwith sent to the front and didn't intend to marry her anyway. The former softens the blow of the latter for the girl's widower father, and the boy's reported death at the front draws the two families together. But, like the Occupation and the war itself, it's not over till it's over. This warm comedy, both pastoral and earthy, pits the rustic wit of Raimu, as the peasant father, against the sarcastic superiority of Charpin, as “the hardware store,” and offers Fernandel in a typical role of asexual bumpkin.

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