Crainquebille (1922) - full transcript

A poor vegetable peddler in Paris runs afoul of the law and finds himself ground up in the cogs of the corrupt French judicial system.

-- Subs OCR'ed and corrected by darthfrede --

Based on the short story by
Anatole FRANCE

Written and directed by
Jacques FEYDER

Starring in the title role
Maurice de FERAUDY
of the Com?die Fran?aise

Marguerite CARR?


Armand NUM?S

L?once-Henri BUREL

Art director
Manuel ORAZI


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"Justice is the means by which
established injustices are sanctioned."

The carts of the gardeners,
loaded with fruits and vegetables,

begin to file into Paris.

They make their way
towards the Central Market,

passing through the residential quarters
where the honest citizen sleeps.

Doctor Mathieu.

They roll on through the fashionable areas

where people are just now
thinking about getting home to bed.

Mister Lemerle, attorney-at-law.

They continue through
the disreputable neighbourhoods

where people live more by night than by day.

Madame Laure.

The police roundup.

The first light of dawn
reveals the bustling Central Market.

Then the pushcart peddlers
set off through the crowded streets.

Another kind of wagon
carts off the night's catch.

It wasn't in polite society

that Madame Laure learned about
the paddy wagon and the nick.

But she was a well-mannered person
respected by her concierge.

Her parents came to Paris to visit her
every year.

"Madame Laure, fifth floor, middle door."

The youngest newsboy in the neighbourhood,
nicknamed "Mouse."

An abandoned child,

Mouse supports himself
and his adopted son.

J?r?me Crainquebille, street merchant,

had been pushing his cart
throughout the city for fifty years now.

His regular customers approach
at the sound of his familiar cries.

"...and at night,
I sleep in a shop under renovation."

Madame Laure
was one of his regular customers.

"You know, Papa Crainquebille,
when I retire..."


"And I'll be your neighbour."

Madame Bayard.

Constable 64.

"Move along!"

"I'll give you fourteen cents,
but I have to go get change in my shop."

"Move along!"

"I'm waiting for my money."

"I already told you to move along!"

"It's Madame Bayard's fault!
She's still in her shop!"

"Did you say, 'Kill the cops'?
Your papers!"

"I said 'Kill the cops' because you said
that I said, 'Kill the cops'!"

"Now you can say it a hundred times,
it won't change anything!"

"You've made a mistake.
This man didn't insult you."

Physician-in-chief at the Ambroise-Par? Hospital
Officer of the Legion of Honour

"Of course,
I'll come to the station with you."

"You shouldn't owe a man who gets arrested.
I think it's even against the law."

Prison seemed neither dreadful
nor humiliating to Crainquebille.

"Talk about clean!
You could eat off the floor here!"


Medical check-up.

"Where did they stick my cart?"

"I've never been sick."

"One tablespoon every night before bedtime."

The third day...

"Where did they stick my cart?"

"Mister Lemerle, your lawyer, is here."

"Let's hear it."

"Get to the facts."

"I said 'Kill the cops' because he said
that I said, 'Kill the cops'!"

I didn't find any of that in your file."

"I think the way
you systematically deny everything

is incredibly inept."

"You'd be better off confessing."

Now Crainquebille would have confessed
had he known what he had to confess to.

At the Ambroise-Par? Hospital.

Summons to appear in court

And Crainquebille was brought to trial,

charged with
insulting an officer of the law.

"The majesty of justice
is entirely contained

in each sentence pronounced by the judge
in the name of the sovereign people."

"...the court,
in application of said article,

sentences Alexander Fromage
to six days in prison."

Though firmly convinced of his innocence,

Crainquebille was terrified
and thus unable to see things clearly.

The presiding judge.

"Your name is Crainquebille, J?r?me..."

"You were born in Poissy
on the fourteenth of July, 1861?"

"Relate the events,
expound the facts,
in accordance with your system."

The prosecuting attorney.

The defence attorney.

"I was working for a living
by the time I was fourteen."

"Folks around the Central Market
and the neighbourhoods

have known me for the past forty years."

"I didn't ask you for your life story!"

"Call the first witness."

In Crainquebille's eyes,

the constable looked
as important as his testimony.

"I order him to move on, three times,

but he refuses to comply."

"I warn him
that I'm going to give him a ticket.

And he shouts in my face, 'Kill the cops'!"

"Did you hear what Constable 64 said?"

"I said 'Kill the cops' because he said
that I said, 'Kill the cops'!"

"Do you maintain
that the officer said it first?"

"You're right not to insist on that point."

"Raise your hand and say, 'I swear.'
Remove your glove."

"I didn't see anything.

I was trying out a pair of shoes on a child.
They were blue shoes."

Witness for the defence.

To Crainquebille,
this testimony seemed to carry little weight.

"...and everyone around me agreed
that the constable had made a mistake."

"Call Constable 64 again."

"When you arrested the accused,

didn't the witness make the observation
that you had made a mistake?"

"But, Your Honour, he insulted me!"

"Just like that, he said to me...
'Kill the cops'!"

"If these disturbances continue,
I shall have the courtroom cleared."

"The defence has the floor."

"The illegitimate child
of a pushcart peddler

depraved by scandalous behaviour and drink,
he was born an alcoholic."

"You see here a man
numbed by sixty years of poverty.

you must conclude that he is irresponsible."


"...Crainquebille, J?r?me,
being found guilty of insulting an officer,

offense punishable
under Article 224 of the penal code..."

"...the court,
in application of said article,

sentences the condemned man to
two weeks in prison and a fifty franc fine."

"So I'm a condemned man?"

"Your name is Chartier, Georges Emile..."

"Relate the events,
expound the facts,
in accordance with your system."

"Those gentlemen talk good,
but they talk too fast.

You can't get a word in edgewise."

"Where did they stick my cart?"

"You never open your mouth.
Afraid your breath stinks?"

"Would you give these hundred francs
to your client,

without telling him who sent it?"

Crainquebille had accepted his sentence

as something superior and ritualistic
that's not to be questioned.

A benevolent person
who's concerned about you

asked me to give you one hundred francs,

which I deposited with the court clerk.
- Mister Lemerle

Doctor Mathieu's nightmare.

Released from prison,

Crainquebille didn't have
an unpleasant memory of his adventure.

He quickly realised
his customers were giving him dirty looks.

"Madame Bayard,
you still owe me fifteen cents
from last time."

The shopkeepers,
once such regular customers, avoided him.

"That's not nice, Madame Laure,
being unfaithful to me!"


"Just out of prison
and already insulting people!"

From that day on,
the less he earned, the more he drank.

Then poverty came.
One night, he was thrown out of his garret.

Now he would often miss the market
and spend his days in bars.

"All that fuss over a drink on credit!

You robbed me enough times
when I had money!"

"Are things really that good in jail?"

"I gave you enough forty cent
and twenty cent coins last month!"

"What do I want?
I want the fifteen cents you owe me!"

"You don't owe anything
to people who have been in prison!"

The sewers had overflowed...

"Since I know the trick, why not use it?"

"Kill the cops!"

"Kill the cops, I said!"

"That's no way to talk.
You should know better at your age.

On your way!"

"Why don't you arrest me?"

"If we had to arrest every drunk
who says what he shouldn't,

we'd have our work cut out!
On your way!"

And then, he thought about the happy days,
his honest, hard-working life,

and he realised
how far he had fallen in the world...

"Shake out of it, Papa.
You have to live."

"You think so, Mouse?"

"It won't do anything for the nation,

but you can say that at your age,
young fella,

you saved a man's life!"