As Liam O 'Leary has written: « Feyder seldom allows the sentimental in him to swamp his judgment, and his intense identification with the lives of his characters conveys experience in a most vital way. For instance, his camera sees people and places with the eyes of his children. When their story is over, we have a sense that they will now go on with their daily tasks and never perform any action which will ever cause anyone to single them out for attention again. » The film is by no means a naturalistic one, but it bas a naturalistic density which sets Feyder apart from other French filmmakers during the twenties. Roger Regent defined his position thus: « At a time when it was necessary to invest in a little aestheticism now and again in order to prove one 's worth, Feyder managed to establish himself as a serious artist without losing touch with the popular audiences. »
(NFT Programme Note)
The story is set in a small mountain village in Switzerland. Amsler, the mayor, loses his young wife. For bis son
Jean, this is a severe shock, for he highly adored his mother. After having done the household himself, Amsler decides he should remarry. He makes a deal with a young widow who has a daughter. He sends Jean to the parish priest in a neighbouring village, who will prepare Jean to his new mother and sister. At his return, Jean meets his new family but feels deeply betrayed by his father. He rejects his new mother and sister and makes a fuss whenever he can. But then, there is an avalanche.
Arlette, his stepsister, is missing ... There has never been any music for this film. Young Flemish composer Dirk Brossé is the first to give this fine film the musical splendour it deserves.
Jean Forest, Pierrette Houyez, Victor Vina
Jacques Feyder, Dimitri De Zoubaloff, Françoise Rosay
Paul Parguel, Léonce-Henri Burel
Jean de Merly
Dimitri De Zoubaloff