Les parents terribles (1948) - full transcript

When Michel, who's 22, tells his parents he is in love, his mother Yvonne is distraught, believing she will lose his love (which is the center of her life), and his father Georges is distressed because it is Georges' mistress, Madeleine, whom his son loves. Yvonne and Georges financially and emotionally depend on Michel's maiden aunt, Léo, who was once engaged to Georges but gave him up to her sister. Léo resolves to help them separate Michel and Madeleine, choreographs an elaborate meeting at Madeleine's flat where Georges concocts a lie that Madeleine feels she must embrace, and the lovers part. Aunt Léo then has a change of heart and tries to put everything right.


Doctor Schmit?

He's up above...

anyhow, he's away shooting
killing hares.

How unfortunate!

What can I do about it?

Yvonne, what is it?

- I'm dying...
- Good God!


- What now?
- Léo, quick!

- News from Michel?
- No! Yvonne's poisoned.

Where is she?

There, in the bathroom.

Yvonne, what have you
done now? Speak up!


I'll phone the...
but it's Sunday.

Melt the sugar.

You always lose your head.

After taking insulin
you must always take sugar.

- Doesn't melt.
- Give it me.

Make yourself useful...
hold her up.

Come along now...
try and drink.

Careful! She'll break it.

Relax now...

Don't die before you see Michel.

How d'you feel?

Much better...
That makes all the difference.

I'm so sorry about this...

- It was my fault.
- No... it was mine.

With a mad thing like you.

I was madder than usual.

That's exactly why...

...Léo not mad.


I wouldn't have kept
this for Mick.

He hasn't your scruples.

Thank you, Léo.

Here's what happened.

It was 5 o'clock...
time for my injection.

It was something to do.

After I'd taken it...
I heard the lift...

and ran into the hall...
but I was wrong.

It was then that
I was taken "I...

and George arrived.
A miracle.

Enough of your miracles!

- Let's say without you...
- And without Léo...

I might have caused much trouble...
for very little.

For a lot!

Michel was out all night.

He hasn't been seen since...
knowing you...

he must have known...
what a state...

you would be in.

I hope he is all right.

Why don't his friends telephone?

Bad news travel fast.

Where can he be?

Don't get excited.

Or you either, George.
Go back to work.

Yes, try and work.

I keep on making mistakes
and beginning again.

It's easy to phone.


But it's not so easy to tell lies.

Why should Mick lie?

Anyhow, he's hiding something.

You can't tell me anything
about Mick.

He may be in danger.
Perhaps he can't phone.

You can always phone.

He can but he doesn't want to.

You're odd this morning.

You know something and won't say.

No good telling you.

You'd just say "unbelievable!"

You're always saying it.

It's Michel's word.

I'd like to know where it's from.

I thought I heard a taxi.

Michel can't afford a taxi...

He probably had a drink
and stayed with a friend.

Yvonne, are you making
fun of me?

- Are you blind?
- Why?

Michel spent the night
with a woman.

Are you off your head, Léo?

- Michel is a child.
- Nonsense!

He is not a child, he is a man

What a hopeless mess
you've made!

What mess?

Well, look... dirty clothes...

cigarette ash...

Are you surprised he can't stand it?

And you think he goes with women?

Know why he hasn't phoned?

So as not to hear you say...
"Come home... little one..."

What is a bourgeois family?

A rich, orderly family
with servants.

Here there's no money
and no servants.

They only stay a week.

So I had to arrange
with a charwoman.

And she doesn't come on Sunday.

But why so excited, Léo?

Know why the house
is like a pigsty?

Why there's a pile of dirty
linen in Michel's room?

Why there's dust on the table
where George does his inventing?

Why the bath is clogged?

Oh, is it?

Because I take pleasure in seeing...

how far into a mess you can get
and wonder what will happen.

Then my sense of order prevails...

and I put things right.

You think this throws Michel
into the arms of a woman?

Not only him.

You mean George?

Yes, I mean George.

George is unfaithful?
You found something out?

What about you?

Am I unfaithful?

With Whom?

Ever since Michel was born...

You've had nothing to do
with George.

And George has remained alone...
so what d'you expect?

You really think they like it?

But even if this nonsense
is all true...

Why didn't you say so before?

I didn't think you were blind.

I thought you were just turning
a blind eye.

George might be excused...

after 20 years of marriage...

there is a relation between man and
wife which makes certain things...

almost impossible.

You're very odd.

I must seem odd to you...
after all...

you were always so beautiful...

whereas I...

George chose you although...
I was engaged to him.

It was you he wanted.

You didn't mind.

- You gave him to me.
- That's my business.

I respect George.

My feelings go through here...

and yours there.

I didn't know you wanted a son...

You always get what you want...

and that you'd leave
George for him.

George could have had you.

Me? Sleep with him for your sake?
I'm an old maid, thanks!

he wouldn't have wanted me.

He likes young people.

Oh yes?

And perhaps Michel is unfaithful to
me...l mean...lies to me.

The first word was right...

I've always been his friend.

No mother's a friend.

I'm not a woman in his eyes.

And he's not a man in yours.

He is the baby you took
to bed...to the bath.

In his eyes...
you have become a woman.

And now he is gone.

How can Michel...

find time for this woman?

Time's elastic.

He pretends to be in a place...
when he is in another.

But he works.

You know you don't want
him to work.

- He won't go out.
- Did you ask him?

Did you want him to join
young people?

- Or consider his marrying?
- Marrying?

Why not?
At the age of 25.

- He is a baby.
- Suppose he is not?

I'd find a Wife.

Yes, an ugly, stupid one...
who wouldn't get in your way.

A psychologist!

My God!
There's someone there!

Please go, Léo. I can't.

No, of course.

- What was it, George.
- For the doctor again.

- I thought it was Michel.
- He has his key.

We've keys all over the place.

He might have lost them.

One day we'll be murdered
in our bed.

Pity there's not a crowd
to listen to you.

What time is it?

6 o'clock.

It's not my ghost...it's me.

You frightened your mother.
How did you get in?

Through the door!

I came up the stairs
4 at a time.

How are you, Sophie?

Why call your mother Sophie
at your age!

No matter, George.
It's an old joke.

Your mother's not well.

Sophie...was it my fault?

Never mind.

To look at you,
I might have committed a crime.

Your mother nearly died
of worry.

Here I come back...
pleased to see you all...

- I'm quite worried.
- So you should be! Where from?

Let me get my breath back.

So, you see...

Auntie Léo has kept
her head as usual.

I might have lost it.
Your mother's right.

What have I done?

You didn't come home all night.
You said nothing.

I'm 22 years old!
It's the first time I've stayed out.

Where have you been?
Answer your father.

Listen children...


listen, papa... listen,
auntie... I just wanted...

Wanted? What about your father?
Go to his study.


Papa hasn't got a study...

He has a badly kept room.

I want to speak to you alone.

Do you realize...

I realize it's dark as hell.

Michel wants to speak to me.

Of course.

Naturally Mick wants
to confide in me.

Léo, take George to his work.

Listen, don't be angry.
I'm bursting...to tell you.

Nothing serious, eh?

Well, yes and no.

You intimidate him.

Yes, papa intimidates me...
and you're too clever.

But I'm his friend as I told you.

Good luck.

Come along George...
let's leave them to it.

I want to speak to you...later.

Of course, papa.

That's clever.

My darling little Sophie,
are you angry?

Can't you kiss me
without doing that?

Don't kiss my ears...

- I didn't mean to.
- That would be the end!

You've got lipstick on.

Yes, and powder too.

What is all this?

Why all this trouble?
And for whom?

I was so pale I put it on.

Don't take it off.

- What is it to you?
- Don't play-act with me...

- I know you too well.
- But you never look at me.

Oh yes. I look at you,
see you're neglecting yourself.

- Let me do your hair and makeup.
- Nonsense!

You're sulky...
and angry with me.

I am never sulky
but what's going on?

- Be patient and listen.
- I'm listening...

Let's have no solemn airs...

Let's not have the family air.

Swear to me you'll let
me explain everything.

- That depends.
- There, you see...

they must spoil you a lot
outside the house...

Well...I'm going to papa
for another sermon.

Michel...don't make fun
of your father.

Well...you're always doing it.

It's not the same thing.

I let you call me Sophie
except in public.

We are never in public.

I've been allowing
you too much licence.

You live in disorder...
your room's a pigsty.

You can't move for dirty linen.

You've told me a hundred
times, you like untidiness...

that you hated cupboards
and drawers.

- I never said that.
- I beg your pardon!

I did once say, I liked
your children's things about.

Then I found they'd become...

men's shirts and socks.

And I asked you to stop it.
But it's still the same mess.


You're not calling me
Sophie any more, eh?

You wouldn't tuck me in...
We fought...

I carried you to bed
till you were 11.

Then you were too heavy.

You used to hang on my neck,
you stood on my shoes...

as I walked.

Once you wouldn't be tucked in,

so I sent you off alone.

Let me get onto your bed.

Let me cuddle up to you.

Don't look at me.
Look straight across...

at the window opposite.

Caravan at the halt, eh?

This gets us nowhere.

You said you'd be nice.

I said nothing.

How nasty you are!

If you've something to say,
say it.

Now then, outwith it.
Have you any debts?

Don't be absurd, Sophie.

And keep quiet.

Very well then...you tell me.

I'm very happy...

but I wanted to be sure
before telling you...

if you weren't happy as well,
I couldn't be.

I've met a girl at college...

- But it's not mixed.
- Will you listen?

Not the art school,
a secretarial college.

Papa said he'd find me a job,
but I had to do shorthand.

However as you didn't want
me to, I gave it up.

I went three times...

and met a girl, a woman, rather...

who was living on the generosity
of a man of fifty...

...a sugar daddy,

a widower who'd lost his daughter.

She opened her heart
to me and it was sad.

She loves me and I love her.
And so will you.

I want to take you all
to see her tomorrow.

She'll tell him tonight.
He hasn't been to her...

for a long time.

He has a flat of his own.

Of course, no question of jealousy...

not as if she were married, but...

because of you and
all of us...

I couldn't accept a sordid situation.

And this woman has helped you?

She must have...
you've not a penny.

You see everything, Sophie.

She's helped me with meals,

And I am so happy.
Are you?

Happy? So that's my reward!

For looking after you...

bringing you up, loving you!

Neglecting poor George!

For a woman to steal
you from us.

Even accepting money.

You know what that's called?

Mama, you're off your head!
Madeleine is young.

- Her name!
- I was not going to hide it.

You thought you could flatter me.
I don't accept it.

My son kept by a woman
with yellow hair.

Madeleine is blonde, not yellow...

and she's 25.
And I'm her only lover.

Ah, so you admit!

Admit what?
I've told you everything.

I shall go mad.

Calm down, go to bed.

I've been in bed since yesterday.

I wish I were dead.

Just because I'm in love
with a girl?

I shall die of shame.

Don't tell me such stories.

If you were in love with a girl...

a decent affair,
I'd listen to you.

But you tell me a disgusting story.

- I forbid...
- You do what?

Kiss me, Sophie.

- Lipstick all over.
- Well, it's yours!

I can't kiss you.

Sophie, it's not true.

I'll ask your father
to stop you from seeing her...

to defend you.

Don't break that chair!

Now you're a real mother, Sophie.

You said you were a friend.

I am your mother
and your friend too.

How long has this been
going on?

Three months.

Three months of lies...

of shameful lies.

I didn't lie to you,
I said nothing.

Three months
of hypocritical kisses.

To spare you.

I do not need to be spared.

Not like you.

Yes, you, you little fool...

in the clutches of a woman...

who lied about her age.

You've only to see her.

No thank you, your aunt
says she's thirty!

You don't know women.

- I'm beginning to.
- Don't be rude.

After all, why should
I look for what I have here.

A woman of your age?


Don't annoy me.

I may look old but...

We'd better keep quiet.

That's too easy,
I'll speak now.

You'll not marry this filth!

Take that back!

Get up, mama!

There is no mama.
I'm an old woman who'll scream.

The neighbours can hear.

I shall have my scandal.

My scandal, I tell you.

- Murderer, look at your eyes.
- What about yours?

- They'd kill me if they could.
- Nonsense!

I'll have you arrested.
Stop him!

Call the police and stop him.

Léo! Papa! Quick!

Leave me alone!

George, get some water.
Yvonne, lie down.

- Lie down on the bed.
- Listen! I don't care!

Well, I do.

Always having trouble.
They'll put us out.

What does that matter now?

Your son has insulted me.
He hit me.

- It's not true.
- Come with me.

I'll speak to papa.

There are things I must say.

You see, Léo?

You heard?

I could not help it,
but not all.

He's in love,
a typist or someone.

He'd leave us for her.

he doesn't love me anymore.

I don't quite see.

What you give to one
you take away from the other.

He can be in love and...

You don't quite see...

And what about us mothers?

I had him in my belly,
but you would not know.

Perhaps, you are very selfish.


When George broke our engagement

and said he would marry you...

and even consulted me about it...

I pretended not to care.

What could I have done
about it...anyhow?

So I sacrificed myself.

Fool that I was!

Young, mystical and idiotic!

What do you think I've been
for the last 23 years?

You blind idiot!

A servant...

You hate me, Léo?

No. I did hate you,

not at the time but after...

the birth of Michel...

because you neglected George.

I've sometimes thought Michel's
presence was responsible.

But I think I would
have hated you in any case.

I don't think I can analyze
my feelings towards you.

It's a question of habit.

You are not bad, just irresponsible.
You don't realize.

You are all the same.
You see nothing.

- Nothing?
- Nothing!

All the better if Michel
takes her money.

Teach you to leave him without any.

All the better
if he marries a whore.

I won't move a finger
to help you.

Poor George!

23 years. Life is long,
my little one...

very long.

The Goat's short.
Take it off...

and you can go anywhere.

You're talking of dresses?

Whatever's the matter with you?
You're pale.

He's talked to me.

He's sorry he hurt you.

- He'd like to see you.
- Is that all?

See him...don't make
him ask your pardon...

or any other nonsense of that sort.

I'll stay with Léo.
Go and see him in his room.

I beg of you, Yvonne...
do it for my sake.

I'm tired out.

I hope Michel didn't win you over.

I hope Michel didn't win.

It's not a question of winning...

The boy's in love,
no doubt of it.

Don't interrogate him...

He's lying there broken-hearted...

- Comfort him.
- That will be best.

I'll go on one condition.

Go without condition.

What's the matter, George?

Quickly! They'll be back.

This is a hell of a business.

What about? Michel?

Yes and no...
it's a real music-hall comedy!

What a business!

I'll make coffee.

I've been stupid and I'm paying for it

6 months ago I needed a secretary.

I was given an address.
She was a girl of 25...

unhappy, simple and beautiful.

I've been very lonely here.

Yvonne thinks only of Michel.

I pretended I was a widower...

and my daughter looked like her.

How can you be blamed?

I went on inventing stories.

She said she loved me, that young
people were uninteresting and so on.

After three months...

her sister came to stay...

a strict, devoted sister.

- I borrowed money from you.
- I thought so.

Whom can I tell?

I used the money
to rent a sordid room.

She came less often.

She covered her absences
with a lot of lies.

You can guess the rest.

The sister was in fact
her young lover.

And the lover was Michel...

- Does he know?
- Not at all!

He thinks I was
reacting like his mother.

And what did he want?

Madeleine...this girl...
was meeting me this evening.

Michel has just told we why.

It was to...

- Get rid of you?
- And tell me everything.

Tell Mr X. everything.
Put the record straight.

I'm mad about her.

Whether tragedy or a comedy,
it's a masterpiece.

A monstrous masterpiece. How
could such a coincidence happen?

For those of you who like miracles...

here's a masterpiece.

It's like winning in the lottery.

Yes... the big prize.

The opposite of that, poor George.

Michel, darling...

Leave me alone.


Go away!


Go away...go away.

I won't speak to you again.

What about Michel?

I'm frightfully embarrassed...
it's not his fault...

What will you do?

What can I do?
I've cancelled my appointment.

Now I understand the sense of order.

When one was in the other was out.

My poor George.

I've drunk the cup
to the bitter dregs.

Michel told me
Madeleine had given him money.

Your money?

Yours, rather.

Chance becomes amusing.

So our money gets into
the pocket of your son.

That'll teach you to leave him
without a penny.

It's all very well
for you to laugh.



- I'll help you.
- How?

We must make
this marriage impossible.

We must all go to
her tomorrow.

- Are you mad?
- Not at all.

- Yvonne will never agree.
- Yes, she will.

Can't you imagine what a scene
there'll be?

Me 90 there? Impossible!

She'll never tell Michel that...

When she sees me,
she'll scream.

- I'll see to it. Fight hard.
- She deserves it.

You break first.
If she won't give him up,

say you'll tell.

Are you a witch?

I'm fond of you.
I'm defending your home.

But Yvonne would never...

- Look out! There she is.
- What ears you have!

All the better to protect
you with.

What shall we do?

Michel's out of his mind.

- Under a bad influence.
- We must see the influence.

- I know her.
- We must be careful.

- We must stop it.
- You want to separate them?

- Separate whom?
- Michel and this girl.

There is no girl!
There's a loose woman.

God knows what a woman...

that Mick sees through
rose-colored spectacles.

All the more reason...

No, I count on George
to take drastic measures...

That's just a phrase...

If it's not just a fairy story...

and she wants to leave
her keeper and marry Mick...

it would be your duty to relieve
him of the responsibility.

He can't do that.

Now we're talking sense.

How would they live?

He told me he wants
to get a job.

And live at my expense,
his aunt's, I mean.

- Mine is yours.
- But it's not hers.

I see very clearly now, George.
You must do something.

It's his duty, Léo.

- Be firm. Forbid him.
- Think that'll work?

Mick only thinks
he loves this woman.

Puppy-love and he thinks
it's eternal.

So it maybe.

No, it'll turn into dreams.
I know my Mick.

You did.

A woman can't change
him in three months.

She doesn't need three months.
Three minutes are enough.

If I were a man I'd tell him...

That's what he wants.

He doesn't think I'll obey...

Who talks of obeying?
Don't be so tragic...

So you and Léo propose...

We propose nothing.

You are considering the possibility...

that we all go and see her.

A mere reconnaissance of
the enemy's positions.

A family visit!

You don't understand.

Can you imagine a Michel
who avoids you...

or lies to you all day?

Be quiet!

You know what you'd do?

You'd go and beg her...

Be quiet!

Whereas it would be so simple
to be artful...

save Michel...make him thankful.

You no longer tell me to be quiet!

Michel would hate us
to deceive him.

It's for his good.
Otherwise he will marry her.

When she first suggested
it to me I was shocked.

But now I see
the idea is a good one.

I will never go to that woman.

Don't you go and recover
lost property?

From her?

You will go and
recover your property...

and I'll go with you.

- You're stronger than you look.
- Or weaker.

Careful how you tell Mick.
He may think it's a trap.

Go and tell him, Léo.
We'll come afterwards.

Hold on!

What a nightmare!

You've said it.

I warn you I'll not speak to her.

You can speak alone.

Yes, I promise to do that.

Don't make me speak to her.
I should be angry.

I'm not used to such women.

Nor am I...After a certain age...

You can come in now.

What is it?

Mother will tell you.

Mick, I was very harsh with you...
and you were frank.

I'm sorry.

Your father has spoken for you.

We don't want to make you unhappy,
you know.

We think of you.
I detest injustice.

But what you asked...

Let mother speak.

The almost impossible thing,
this step you want us to take...

we've decided to take it.

We'll visit your friend.

Sophie! Is it possible?

Tell her we are coming tomorrow.

I must be dreaming!
Thank you, papa.

It's your aunt you should thank.


Everyone says "unbelievable"
at home.

If they knew they'd caught
it from you...

Mama would be delighted.

What is so funny about it?
I pronounce it like everybody else.

No, not like nobody else.

I caught the habit
and passed it on to them.

Hurry up out of the bath.

Your mama can't have believed...

you came here for that.

It's Aunt Léo's fault.

She let the bath get clogged up.
You'll get on well with Aunt Léo.

But my bath works.

My bath works.

We take baths...

If Léo lets us down.
But she likes comfort.

Dry your feet.
Don't wet the carpet.

It never occurred to me
mama might be cross.

It's true you're a great
diplomat like Léo.

You know her well.

Living on top
of one another as we do...

I love your cleanliness...

Well...that is funny!

Outside...you are dirty
like a child is.

Like a child's knees.

Inside there is no one cleaner...

Or stupider.

- What about me?
- You've read classics.

No, I bind them.

You're too intelligent for me.

You could live off
your book-binding...

- And keep me.
- Oh no, you'll help me.

You can start now.

- One day we'll open a shop.
- Yes, we'll get rich.

When we have a house...

A flat.
Why always say a house?

We always say "house" at home.


That'll do. Listen...

When we have a house...

if I can't be untidy,
I'll take you there...

and shut you up...

in my room with the dirty linen...

and my ties in the...

- I'd put it all straight.
- You would. How d'you manage?

Either you're tidy or not.

Look where my socks are.

- How did they get here?
- You left them there.

At home, I'd never
have found them.

Your mother...

Mama was adorable. Everybody was.

But it started with a scene.

Mama wanted the police to arrest me.

The police? Why?

It's her style.
It's the style of her room.


- Whose fault?
- Mine?

Yours? I couldn't resist
staying the night.

And the next day...

You were anxious.

- I told you to telephone.
- Don't tell Sophie.

You're always doing silly things.

Quite true.

Another thing I like about you.
You're not a liar.

It's too complicated.

I hate lying. It'd make me ill.

I'll be silent
to avoid hurting people.

But lying...

- My shoe?
- Look for it.

Where is it?

I'm looking at it as I speak.

Any warmer? You want me to hurry!

Well...that's wonderful!

Mama would have found it
in my bed.

Pity I am so nervous.

It's they who are.
But Aunt Léo will arrange things...

Do you always go out together?

Sophie...never. Papa does...

and Léo goes out
to do the shopping.

And I go out because...

I love you.

Do they expect order or disorder?

They expect the worst...
an old woman with yellow...

I am an old woman. 25 already.

I think this old woman
will astonish them.

Touch wood.

you'd bewitch anything.

There's only one trouble.

What is that?

I'd like to have had
the business settled.

- I meet him this evening.
- Unfortunate!

Tomorrow it'll be over.

Pleased at the delay?

Yes, when George phoned,
I didn't insist.

Papa is George too.

I'm not sure which of the...

two Georges I'm most anxious about.

- You don't love him.
- Yes, Michel.

Well now!

If I hadn't loved him,
I'd never have met you.

I'd be dead.

- You're grateful...
- No...more than grateful.


Try to put yourself in his place.
It's his death sentence.

Keep him, then.
I'll tell the family. Quite easy.

Don't be ridiculous.

I'd sacrifice mama...

She has your father and aunt.

She has only me.

Then she hates me.

No. She is so kind.

Would she come here?

You told me she wouldn't come
and then changed her mind.

Here they are...

Don't leave me alone.
Come and get me.

- Alone?
- Yes, alone.

Where are the others?

Coming afterwards.

You're so good.

How neat!

You recognize my sense of order,
of course.

Of course!

- Where's the girl?
- In her workshop.

Call her.

- It's too far.
- That's lucky.

Your father has to speak
alone with her.

MI 90 and get her.

Very pretty...l pretended
I had shopping to do...

so as to get here first.

Aunt Léo is a wonder.

So I'm your accomplice.
Can you hear from upstairs?

Did you hear me?

It's terribly important.

We must try it before they come.

She thinks of everything.
Easy to try.

Go up and shut the door...
I'll shout.

What are you waiting for?

I'm being murdered!

Die, die! Help! Help!

They're killing me!

The heart! Cut him open!

Cut him to pieces and eat!

- You weren't in there!
- I wanted to hear you shout.

Used to it.

To hear you shout here...l mean.

Aunt Léo, you make
a wonderful actress.


Your mother's a good actress too.

Must be the wrong floor.

If there's no lift
it's always the 5th.

Well, ring!
What're you waiting for?

- No servants?
- No more than we have.

- Léo here?
- Just arrived.

- Been here long?
- I said: "Just arrived."

Aunt Léo thought
she'd find you here.

You're alone?

- Madeleine is hiding.
- Hiding?

She is afraid of the family.

We are not ogres.

You are quite pale, Sophie.
Naturally she is nervous.


How smart!

- It's clean...
- Not exactly your type...

You should tell her
we are here.

How stiff you are, papa!

Sit down and try to look natural.

My boy, do you understand
the seriousness of the situation?

He is breaking the ice.

George is very touched, Léo.

At times like these a father
must not be off hand...

No need to be conventional
because events aren't.

I think Michel's very brave.

Go and get her.

Yes, let's see.

For my sake,
please be nice to Madeleine.

Don't behave coldly.

We have no such intention.

Don't be angry with me...
I'm so nervous.

We are not angry.

We are all adopting attitudes.

Off you go!

George, you look even more
nervous than I do.

I'll get behind Léo.

This is Mama.

You are very beautiful,
young lady.

Like a young girl...
how old are you?

I'm 25, but it's you, madam, who...

Excuse me.

Who let you in?

But this is papa.

Your father?

Nobody ever believes
he's old enough to be a father.

If we went out together
we'd be taken for friends.

What about me, Michel?

I'm completely off my head.

How cold you are!
Feel her hand, Léo.

Frozen! Are we so terrible?

Shake Léo's hand.

Just an old maid, my dear.

That's the whole family.
Not so terrible!

She is ill, Michel.

No, I'm all right.

Michel will show us the way.

But I could too.

Stay here! Michel?

Don't leave me alone, Michel.

You have papa.

Please, Michel.
Don't leave me alone.

Michel, show us...

I'll come with you.
I must make the tea.

Don't worry, we'll manage.
Michel will help.

- Unfortunate for the cups.
- I've only broken 3 so far.

Stay here.

I promised Michel I'd speak.

I promised my wife too.

Although Michel finds me young...
I'm an old man compared with you.

Tell us when to come.

Couldn't your sister stay with us?
A woman...

Let's have tea first.
Certain things are not for women.

You heard what Michel said.
His father's a friend...

easy to get on with...
easier than me.

Shall I bring you a cup of tea?

She'll have it afterwards.

Win papa over...
but don't run away with him.

So here we are.

This is awful.

It's unbelievable...

if there weren't situations
like this, there'd be no plays.

We are classic characters.

They can hear us from there!

And it's I who's
asking you that!

You shut me up there
when your sister came...

That was Michel?

An excellent combination...
an old man and a boy!

Don't add more dirt
to the mess we are in.

I'm very fond of you.

Did you love me? I love you.
I kept on asking if you loved me.

And you replied:
"Of course I do".

I used to say: "I like you a lot".

That made you angry...
and you kept on at me.

Then I'd get tired, and say:
"I love you".

You shouldn't.

But you were obstinate
to the point of rudeness.

It was too late then.

If you'd told me:
"Not yet...I'll try"...

but you led me on to think...

- The easy way.
- It's not true!

I couldn't make myself hurt you.
Breaking with you was torture...

I told Michel.
It was a proof of my love for him.

You love Michel?

Who is asking?
Is it he...or you?

Me...as his father.

It was only when I met Michel...

I understood love...
it wasn't the same thing...

and I knew I could be happy.

- And he loves you?
- He's proved it.

If he even guessed the truth,
he would hate you...

He would kill me
and die himself.

But he mustn't know.

Then I'll be grateful to you
all my life.

So you imagine...

I'm simply going
to leave Michel to you.

You imagine I'll give him you?

You don't mean
you'd take him away?


What happiness can be founded
on deceit?

If two...why not three?

You were unfaithful to one...
why not to the other?

Perhaps you are!

You don't believe
what you say, do you?

To tell the truth, no.

I was sure of it.

But as this third man
does not exist, I'm sure...

we must invent him.

Invent him?

Yes, invent a young man
of your own age...

but older than Michel...

whom you were hiding
because you were ashamed of him...

who was infatuated with you
and hoped to marry you...

and look after you.

Making fun of me?

Not at all.
You must to do this or I'll tell all.

To your son, your wife?

Don't worry about my wife...
I'll tell her anyhow.

She'll speak...

She'll speak if you try
to persuade her not to.

I am cured...and I'll cure Michel.

Of love?

Love's an easy word.

I'll cure him
of an impossible marriage.

Finished? Can we come down?

Not yet. We are chatting
like old friends.

Good! By the way, Madeleine,
I've broken a cup.

Let us out quickly.

- Well?
- All well.

I'm fed up with this.

I've thought it over...
you are free.

I'll tell Michel
who the other man was.

Then we'll both lose him.

- Awful thing to do.
- It's my duty.

I'm a father.

No, you're just selfish. You're not
a father, but an angry cuckold.

I forbid you...

Liar! Liar and egotist!

Little you care if he's unhappy.

You're jealous, that's all.

Decide! Invent the third man
or I'll speak.

Just a minute...

Going, going...shall I speak?

No, he mustn't know.

Just a minute, please, George...

Why hang it out?

What's going on, George?

Come down now.

Is it flower,
a fruit or a mineral?

Michel, I'm afraid
I'm going to hurt you.

Hurt me?

Why, what is it, Madeleine?

I've had a long and
surprising conversation...

with your girlfriend.

But she couldn't tell
you anything I hadn't.

She was weak,

- but she's confessed to me.
- To me too.

Madeleine was the first
to regret this delay.

Tomorrow it'll be all right.
Won't it?

I said I'd speak for her.

The man will give her up.

- But what about the other?
- What other?

You thought there were only
two of you...no, three.

What is all this?

Be a man!
You know nothing of women...

and life's difficulties.
She's in love...

- With me!
- Yes, I'm not denying that,

but she's also the slave
of a man her age...

who is not of our class
and who hides himself...

and is suspicious of you
for reasons of his own.

It's a lie...you made it up...
I know Madeleine.

Madeleine, say something!

Say it isn't true.

I know Madeleine's life from A to Z.

Save me, Madeleine, my darling.

Tell them they are lying,
and throw them out.

Naturally, you're downcast.

But you saw her very little,
not at night.

But who is it and how?

She hoped, she tried everything...
he held her.

She did everything he told her to do.

If that is true...
she can go to hell.

Michel! You'd strike a woman?

I'll give her what she

My darling...

my little flower, forgive me.

I know they just want
to find out if I love you...

but you must speak...
speak, I beg of you.

I was forgetting our last

As if you would deceive me
and marry me for money.

I never said she wanted that.

She wanted to free herself
from a dominating influence.

I said she was very fond of you.

Everything was so clear
and beautiful...

and I was being led along
like a lost sheep.

It's driving me mad.

But who is it?

She says you don't know him...
you can't know him.

Old woman with yellow hair.

And I practically insulted
and hurt you...

Parents know, my dear.

They may look ridiculous...
but they know.

You still have your mother.

Madeleine, reply.

It's a lie...
it's a nightmare.

I must wake up.
Wake me up, Madeleine.

Calm down!
I was waiting upstairs...

and thinking: Papa's getting
to know her...

he'll win Sophie over...
Aunt Léo is already convinced.

I was sure that everything
would finish with kisses.

And all I find is a confession...

and my dream smashed to atoms.

She even dares open
her mouth and speak to me.

Be generous, Michel,
she could have remained silent.

I am grateful to her.
If one day...

That's enough!
I can't stand anymore...

Leave her alone.

Take me away...save me.
No, I'll stay.

- Then I'll know.
- Know what?

You're right, papa...
I've had enough.

I don't want to know anymore.
I just want...

to go off and shut
myself up in my room.

You needed the experience, Michel.

I could have done without it,
thank you.

How wise you are not to go out.

People are awful.

- Not all.
- Yes, all of them.

What tidiness, Léo!

No risk of meeting others...

or finding somebody else's
cigarette ends.

Well organized, eh?

Get out of here!

Get out!

She's just acting.

Let her faint.

Sophie, how wonderful it is
to feel hearts who love you...

and don't play tricks.

Off we 90! Where's papa?

He must have taken French leave.

All the better!

He doesn't get such
surprises from his hobbies.

- But you're trembling!
- Not at all.

Yes, you are.
Take my arm to go downstairs.

Leo, we can't leave the girl alone.
Look after her.

I was going to.
You go, I'll stay a moment.

Now calm down,
I won't abandon you.

Calm down and relax.

- You cannot know...
- Yes, I guessed.

I guessed that number 2
was Michel's father.

How could you?

I would have to be blind
not to, my dear.

Blind like my sister and Michel.
It was frightful, but obvious.

They understood nothing.

I'd have died...

And does number 3...exist?

No, Madam.

Yet Michel accepted this grotesque
story without question.

Well, that's lucky...

for if he was capable
of questioning it...

he might have understood
the other.

George forced you, eh?

- Yes, Madam.
- So he would.

I thought he'd have given way to
his son and asked you to keep silent.

He tortured...threatened me.

He wanted to cure Michel...

so he cooked up this lie.

There are certain limits,
after all.

I didn't come here as your ally,
but now I want to be...

I like you...

and I'll help you.

After all, I might not fit
into your social circle.

Don't be funny!
Now listen to me, Madeleine.

Come to the pigsty tomorrow.

- Pigsty?
- Yes, where we live.

- Who, me?
- Yes, you.

They'd throw me out.


Is it possible?

Sometimes I take my vengeance
on love.

But at other times love wins.

Do we know our own thoughts?
It's Greek to me.

Don't try and understand me,
I'm odd sometimes.

- But George Will talk.
- He was angry.

Tomorrow he'll be the noble father.

He was hateful...

No, my dear, George wasn't hateful.

George is an innocent child.

He doesn't think...

No buts...it's an order.
Swear by Michel...

Sleep well and look
your best. My card.

After this nightmare...

It's an old story.
I'm adopting you.

No, don't bother.

Above all don't thank me.
I can't stand gratefulness.

- Still the same?
- Yes, still the same.

It's stifling...

Yvonne's still there.

How can he be so sad?

When I think of my self-control...

and see this unceasing heart-break...

His first time in love.

Those who can hide their...

I refuse to compare your sufferings...

with those of this
inexperienced boy.

He has Yvonne. He says nothing,
but he takes refuge with her.

And she's won.
She's got her son back.

That's all she says.
And I who have told all...

first look ridiculous.

She hardly realized it or
was surprised.

All she thinks of is Michel...

and how careful we must be.
All she said about me was...

"It's your punishment, dear George".

That's all I get from Yvonne.

That's all I get...

George, what you did was frightful.

Say that again!

What you did was frightful.

But it was you who told me to do it.

It was you who invented it.

I'd advise you not to repeat that.

Never say it again,
or anything like it.


I didn't trust either you
or Michel to choose a woman.

I was wrong...I'm sorry.

- She's taken you in.
- No, Madeleine hasn't.

She didn't need to take me in.
Unhappy child.

What! She was unfaithful to me
and Michel too.

The lie suits you.

Now you are canonizing Madeleine.
She is a saint.

She is young,
and she loves Michel.

And she's quite fond of you,
my dear.

She's taken you.

There's no question
of her taking me in.

I'll arrange things.

I've done enough damage.

I'm not going to go
through yesterday again...ever.

I must convince you.
You must convince Yvonne.

You must pay
and she must pay too.

You set yourself up as a judge
and try to make everybody pay.

Do you make any sacrifices
in this business?

- I've done so.
- How d'you mean?

Don't you realize
I've made my sacrifice ?

And am entitled to speak?

I'd like to know what sacrifice.

I loved you, George.
Do you know if I still love you?

I was a fool to sacrifice myself
for your happiness.

We mustn't sacrifice Michel
and that girl.

But I'm not a fool now.

No, no tenderness.

Your tenderness
and your thanks...

I can do without.

You must convince Yvonne.

- What about me?
- I think you are convinced.

- You'll bring Madeleine here?
- It's essential.

I didn't know you had
such a heart.

My heart is only
being used now.

I love Michel, he's your son.

And Yvonne?

Are you sure this is not
all to annoy her?

Don't look into the heart.

There's everything in the heart.

Don't look too deeply
into mine, or yours.

You may be right, Léo.

I love you, George.

It's terrible.
Terrible, I can't stand it.

Shall I go?

No, if he doesn't want me,
he wants nobody.

His nerves...

If she weren't a whore,
I'd give him to her.

Easy to say now.

No, Léo, it's not easy to say.

For me to say so...
it means I'm all in.

- You'd give him?
- Anything, yes.

I can't stand any more.

Speak, George.

No, no more words!

Madeleine is innocent.
The third man does not exist.

I don't understand.

- Well, I stayed with the girl...
- Of course she took you in.

Better leave it to me.

I'm afraid I played a wretched part.

I forced the girl to accuse herself.
I invented it all.

I took advantage of
Michel's credulity...

and Madeleine's situation.

- You did that?
- Yes, I did, I swear.

But you might have killed Michel.

Yes... lovely work.

My only invention that works.

Even without me, you'd...

I'm not so sure...enough...

I must assume all
my responsibilities alone.

George, don't be absurd.

This is a mental crisis. Léo is too
intelligent not to understand.

It's you who dream.

It's up to me,
the extra-lucid sleep-walker...

the gypsy...to see clear.

What's done is done.
They're still alive.

We ought to be glad
nothing happened...

and make the best of our luck.

Our luck! Do you realize
what you're saying?

I am being perfectly natural.
I'm a mother and I have a son.

I'm not in the least exalted.

Obviously, you've done wrong...

but we are well out of it.

Only just now you were saying...
"I can't stand any more".

But it's just because of that...

I manage to cry "Stop"...

when you try to start it all again.

I repeat, we must take advantage...

of the lucky side of it all.

But where is the lucky side?

- The other man was George!
- Thanks so much.

Because if it had been somebody else,
I know George...

you'd not have been firm.

Firm? I was avenging myself...

with you as the excuse.

I don't think you
or George understands...

I understand nothing.

Yvonne finds it's lucky that
Michel thinks marriage impossible.

Just a minute.
George is proving...

- there's no obstacle...
- To what?

To their marriage.

We've driven them to desperation.
We must bring them back to life.

But do either of you seriously
think that...

this person could bear our name,
enjoy our society.

You'd think we were royalty.

I'm just a broken-down inventor.
You're a pale shadow.

Léo remains a spinster to help us.

And it's for this disastrous vacuum...

that you'd refuse
to allow Michel to live?

There I put my foot down.

Of course, George is God,

he is infallible.
He is wonderful!

Say you love him!

Why, then get married!
I'll disappear...leave him to you.

You're mad!

I'm going mad.
Don't be angry with me.

- I'm not angry.
- Thanks, I'm sorry.

Now the thanks and excuses.

The only way to put things right...

is to give life back to Mick.

- You call it life?
- Undoubtedly.

Anyhow, we cannot leave
him as he is.

This girl is much too young.

Yesterday you said
she was too old.

I mean young compared with me.

Good God!

You are asking...

what we asked her.
She did it.

Don't put yourself on a pedestal.
You're no better.

Lies, lies...
try to finish with your lies.

Yesterday when we went
to her place...

you pretended not to know
which floor she lived on.

She was your mistress.

Shut up! He'll hear you.

- I'll defend myself.
- Yes, against yourself.

Making him go through it again,
humiliating ourselves.

No need to make him
go through anything...

all you have to do is
tell him the good news.

And I'll look after Madeleine.


I took upon myself the responsibility.

What have you been up to?
What have you done?

My duty.
I have consoled her and even...

telephoned to her.


Yes, telling her to come.

You're all saints now.
I need time.

Don't you think
I'm making a terrific effort?

Poor old chap!

Poor old girl!

We're neither of us old...and yet...

our son is grown up.
He's no longer a child.

That's the order of things.

- I'm not good on order.
- Nor am I.

- You're frozen.
- Oh, as for me...

Follow me.
The way is clear.

My room.

Give me your bag.

George gave me the same.

- Wrong to come.
- Now then! Wait for me here.

- Alone?
- Dislike it?

It's tidier than the rest.

Michel here?

Just leave things to me.

Now for our surprise.

I'm not used to surprises.

You produce some good ones.

How shall we...

From you, Yvonne.
He must owe it to you.

Against my will.
Don't show it.

I'll look ridiculous...
I'm freezing.

- Listen...my teeth are chattering.
- Not at all.

Anyhow, it's just nervousness.

If I were dying you'd say so.

- I can't stand.
- Lean on my shoulder.

Think of the present
in his shoes.

If I can find them.

There's a door.
It's Michel.

He is making it easier for you...

That's what you've brought me to.

Where was he going?

If he's gone out?

He would have slammed
the other door.

He's eaten nothing.

He is at the sideboard.
He wants some sugar.

He hesitates.
He's going to my room.

He turns the handle.

I'm afraid.

Supposing it's not Mick.

Supposing it's something

something frightful...

What's the matter with me?

Sophie, it's me.

Come in. Close the door.

Why the door? I'll close it.

I've closed it.

I only wanted to come and go.
I wanted sugar.

You know where it is?

Am I disturbing you?

Come now, Michel,
don't talk nonsense.

We wanted you to come.

You came at the right moment,
sent by heaven.

I wanted...anyhow I had
to speak to you, mama.

I'm sorry I sent you
away from my room...

and told you to go away.

I just couldn't stand any more,
you understand?

Of course I do, my poor darling.

Don't be sorry for me.

I shan't go on living
on my stomach on the ground.

Now, papa, this Morocco job...

You'd leave me...


Sophie, my presence can no longer
be very agreeable to you.

You're mad!

That's what I'd become in Paris.
I can't stop here.

And me? Us?

Give me your hand.

Listen, Mick...

look at me...
supposing you didn't have to go.

Supposing we told you
some good news.

There can be none for me.

But I have good news,
great good news. Madeleine...

I never want to hear
about her again.

Please never refer
to the subject any more.


I'll hear nothing about her,

I must tell you.

I won't listen.

Don't kick your mother's bed.

And don't shout. She's ill.

Well, what d'you want?

Your aunt stayed behind yesterday.

You're trying to change my mind.

Don't worry. It's too late.

You won't leave.

- You'll see.
- It would be a crime.

What crime?

Even if we don't count...
There's one who does.

Of course, I understand now.

This person lost her pluck
when she was alone with Léo.

And she used her charm.

I'm not easy to lie to.

- I'll not believe it.
- Then you are wrong...

Believe him, Mick.

- Less incredulous.
- Don't torture me.

I should ask your pardon, Mick.

Our attitude frightened her.

She thought she'd failed.

She made up that story
on the spot to free you.

You're afraid that my departure
will dismay Sophie.

You mother didn't know.
We lacked proof.

Tell me, mama.

I've told you.

Then we must act quickly.

Telephone...bring her back...

Papa, quick, where is she?

She's here.

She's here?

His nerves.

Speak to him, Madeleine.

Michel...it is I.

Madeleine's here.

Cold water...

Don't worry.
Michel often has fainting spells.

Bring the armchair up.

I don't need any help.
I was ridiculous. I'm sorry.

I want to dance and jump and run.

Madeleine, my little girl.

I'm sorry. Do you forgive me?

Forgive you?
I who've done you so much harm?

No, it's I who am an imbecile
and a dirty dog.

If I were you,
I'd not explain but begin again.

Léo is right.

Léo is a wonder.

I can't believe
this is really happening.

Or me...l was ready
to run off to Morocco.


Yes, Michel has just told us
he's going to Morocco.

Still going?

Don't be funny.

He'd not listen...

How good you are.

No...we are frightful.

- Your mother?
- She was there.

- You should kiss her.
- I thought she was there.

I'm not lost.
I'm having my injection.

Can I help you, Madam?

No thank you.
I'm used to it.

She doesn't like to be helped.

- I might help her later.
- That would a triumph.

She is susceptible.
She was feeling neglected.

Be careful...
and go back to her room.

Léo, don't make Yvonne
out to be a witch.

I'm doing nothing of the sort.

But they mustn't make
her jealous.

Now you're frightening them...
look out.

You see how they love me.

I can't go out for a second
without their feeling lost.

I was not lost...
I was taking medecine.

I am an old woman, Mademoiselle.

Without insulin, I'd die.

Go and kiss her, Mick.

- Come...
- No, you go.

Happy, Sophie?


Don't pull me about.

You're lucky if Mick
doesn't pull your hair...

and kiss your ears.

Show Madeleine your room.

She'll blow me up.

You refuse to show me?

You'll tidy it.

Come and see my caravan.

We'll show you the house.
Sophie, I leave you with good order.

Léo, look after her.

Stop! Stay here!

What's the matter?

I'm afraid.
Afraid of us?

I'm terribly afraid...
stay here.

George! Mick!
I'm terribly afraid.

My head's in a whirl.

George...I've done something
stupid...l did...

Speak to us, Sophie.

Speak, Yvonne.

I can't. I wish I could.

Save me, Mick, save me!

It's not insulin.

It was something else.

I was sure.

Yvonne, what have you done?

I saw you all together...there...

and I thought to myself
that I was in the way.

I wanted to die.

But I don't want to die now...
I want to live.

I want to live and
see you happy.

Don't just stare!

Get the doctor from upstairs.
I'll phone...

Go along then!

Phone quickly.

Oh, what a business!

I ought to go, Madam.

Don't be silly, stay here!

Michel will need you just...

as George will need me.

I heard, Léo.

What did you hear?

I heard you, Léo...you forgot
that I could hear you.

Hear what?

Don't pretend.

You all want to get
rid of me.

I've poisoned myself and
I'll poison you too, Léo.

I saw you all down there...

you all wanted...you wanted...

They're sending a doctor.

She is delirious.

Oh, no I'm not.

You wanted me out
of the way but I'll speak.

Calm down, Yvonne.

No one there.

Michel, phone again to the clinic.

Better go and help him, Madeleine...

Stay where you are.

They're trying to deceive you,
Mick. Just a pretext.

The wretched crooks.
I won't let them do it.

Léo, you'd organized it all.

You wanted to be
alone with George.


Yes, how horrible!

- If Michel took a taxi...
- The doctor's on the way.

- Then what?
- Just keep calm and wait.

Are you there, Mick?

He'll come soon.

Mick, where are you?

Give me your hand.

Don't worry,
you'll see Mick happy.

The doctor's coming...
we'll keep you.

What, is that you?

It's still you?
And you, my dear? George?

Stop them! I'll speak!

Ah, they're trembling!

Don't touch me!
Don't come near! Let them in.

Help! Michel! Michel! Help!

It's impossible.

Quicker to go there.

Leave me alone, Léo.

Your mother is dead.

Mick...my poor Mick.

That's the way you are.

Now you'd give anything
for Yvonne to be alive...

and then torture her.

Respect for your mother!

There is no mother!

Sophie was a friend...tell them,
mama. You told me so often.

You're mad!


I'll never be able to understand.

Michel, my darling...

Michel, my darling...

It was the charwoman.

I told her there was nothing...

and everything was in order.

And the gypsy household
wandered on.

Gypsies never stop for long.

Subtitled by TITRA-FILM Paris