Gervaise (1956) - Rotten Tomatoes

Gervaise (1956)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Gervaise Photos

Movie Info

Emile Zola's obscure novel entitled "L'Assommoir" has been made into several films. This is one of the best. In this two hour movie an entire mini-series worth of problems have been compressed about a young woman to whom life has dealt hard blows. Set in the 19th-century, this woman deals with an alcoholic husband while doing everything within her power to keep the family together. An incredibly depressing movie in which the protagonist keeps on trying no matter what besets her, the performances are creditable and the direction superb. Self-involved characters give viewers no one to cheer for, but this movie received multiple awards, ranging from Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival to an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. The music was composed by Georges Auric. ~ Tana Hobart, Rovi


Maria Schell
as Gervaise Macquart
Suzy Delair
as Virginie
Jacques Hilling
as Mon. Boche
André Wasley
as Pere Colombe
Hubert de Lapparent
as Mon. Lorilleaux
Jany Holt
as Mme. Lorilleaux
Lucien Hubert
as M. Poisson
Odette Florelle
as Maman Coupeau
Pierre Duverger
as M. Gaudron
Jacqueline Morane
as Mme. Gaudron
as M. Madinier
Rachel Devirys
as Mme. Fauconnier
Max Elbeze
as Zidore
Helene Tossy
as Mme. Bijard
Christian Denhez
as Etienne at 8
Christian Ferez
as Etienne at 13
Simone Duhart
as The fishmonger
as Classmate
Jean Reiet
as Policeman
as Presiding judge
Jean Gautrat
as Bec Salé
Patrice Catineaud
as Claude - the son of Gervaise and Augustus to 6 years
Gilbert Sanjakian
as Boche's son
Yvette Cuvelier
as Augustine
François Périer
as Henri Coupeau
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Critic Reviews for Gervaise

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (1)

Without ever making a big deal of it, Clément's film has a physical sparkle and a pervasive sensual undercurrent.

July 10, 2018 | Full Review…

The best compliment one can pay the new French film Gervaise is to say that it represents faithfully the Zola novel on which it is based.

December 16, 2021 | Full Review…

Grim period film of 19th century Paris that encompasses the human condition.

February 26, 2009 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Maria Schell (sister of Maximillian) givs a touching performance in Rene Clement's screen version of Emile Zola's grim social-realist novel, which was nominated for an Oscar in 1956.

December 29, 2008 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Gervaise

Gervaise(Maria Schell) has two children, a bad leg, but no husband, living with Lantier(Armand Mestral), the father of her children. That changes when he leaves her which she finds out when her children show up at her workplace, a laundry, where some of her co-workers display less than sympathy. Defending her family's honor, Gervaise wins a ten round fight with Virginie(Suzy Delair) by TKO. Two years later, she is now married to Coupeau(Francois Perier), a roofer, and they have a daughter together. Even with that, Gervaise dreams of opening a shop of her own... "Gervaise" is a powerful and skillfully filmed movie, set amongst the working class of Paris in the 1860's(The Crimean War was in the past while Emperor Napoleon III is still in power) that attacks hypocrisy(notice the scene in the Louvre) concerning the role of women in society, advising them to to be patient in finding a husband, if they want one. This is a society where only the strong survive, and a single mistake could mean ruin, where Gervaise tries to take a different route by using her brains, even as she has been a mother since she was a teenager.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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