Le Rouge et le noir (1954)
aka: Rouge et noir
A film directed by Claude Autant-Lara

Genre: Drama / Romance

Film Review

Le Rouge et le noir photo
This 1954 film from director Claude Autant-Lara is probably the most well-known and finest adaptation of Stendhal's complex literary masterpiece, Le Rouge et le noir. Beautifully filmed in Eastmancolor, with captivating acting performances and a script that vividly evokes Stendhal's celebrated novel, the film exemplifies the French quality period drama for this decade.

The film features 1950s French heart-throb Gérard Philipe, yet again playing the flawed romantic hero, and the magnificent Danielle Darrieux. Whilst Philipe is clearly older than the character he plays in the film (by at least 10 years), the actor plays his part with a heart-rending conviction, combining seductive charm, child-like vulnerability and roguish impudence to make his portrayal very different to the conventional romantic hero and hence thoroughly fascinating. Darrieux is equally mesmerising, particularly her moving scenes towards the end of the film, which remind us of her remarkable performance in Max Ophül's Madame de...

Although this adaptation of Le Rouge et le noir runs to three hours, it cannot really hope to fully capture the scale and power of the original novel. Yet, even though a lot of the content from the novel has been dropped or simplified,  the film still manages to retain much of its impact - not just in  the central narrative about the ill-fated Julien, but also in the wider social messages, such as the injustices of class divisions and the double-standards of Church leaders. One of the best sequences in the film involves a group of trainee priests sitting down to eat a boiled egg - a simple and amusing scene, yet one which seems to somehow capture the whole of spectrum of human behaviour.
The above article was written for filmsdefrance.com and is protected by copyright. No part of it should be reproduced in any medium without the author's permission.

User Comments

Click here to display user comments or add a comment of your own


Before a court of law, Julien Sorel confesses to the attempted murder of the woman he loved and asks that he be condemned to death...
[Read more...]

Film Credits

Directed by Claude Autant-Lara
Starring: Gérard Philipe, Danielle Darrieux, Antonella Lualdi, Jean Mercure, Jean Martinelli, Antoine Balpêtré, Anna-Maria Sandri, André Brunot, Mirko Ellis, Suzanne Nivette
[Read more...]

Related articles

2015 films
2015 film releases

Read more about the French films to be released in 2015...

1920s films
The Silent Era

Before the advent of sound France was a world leader in cinema. Find out more about this overlooked era.

1930s films
The Golden Age

Discover the best French films of the 1930s, a decade of cinematic delights...

To buy or watch this film

The film Le Rouge et le noir may be available on amazon via the following links:
  • amazon.co.uk
  • amazon.fr
  • amazon.com
Visit our on-line stores to browse the latest films out on DVD and books relating to cinema.
Any purchases will allow us to maintain and grow filmsdefrance.com.