Monday, July 14, 2014

La souriante Madame Beudet (The Smiling Madame Beudet) 1923

Today's film is The Smiling Madame Beudet.  Even though it does not have a long running time, the entire story could have been told in ten minutes.  Madame Beudet is depressed and has a rude husband, who doesn't treat her very tell and plays a cruel joke on her by holding a gun to his head and pretending to shoot himself.  The gun is never loaded, so there is no actual danger.  It still isn't a funny joke though.

While her husband is away watching a play, Madame Beudet loads the gun.  Then she spends the entire next day regretting her decision and dramactically moping around the house.  Then her husband and his friend come home looking for a lost receipt.  Later, after his friend has left, he calls her in and yells at her, doing his gun trick again.  Then he aims at her and fires.  However, he is a terrible shot and hits a vase instead.  He believes that she wanted to kill herself by loading the gun.  He tells her that he cannot live without her and hugs her.  However, she is not pleased at all by this outcome and we know who she was really hoping to die.

This film was a bit too long even for a short film, and there isn't a whole lot of substance to it.  Still, it's okay for a silent film.  I will give it a 5/10.


  1. I still do not get this film.
    We are clearly supposed to think the man is a monster and that she is somehow rebelling against him, but instead of the crude gun joke he is actually a concerned guy who just does not get his wife.
    I don't know, I think I could go on living without ever having seen this film.

    1. I feel that she was a villain in this film, that she planted the bullet to kill him, and the plan literally backfires on her. I don't see how it's "feminist" or whatever.

  2. I didn't care for this very much. It was billed as the "first feminist film" but I thought that the woman was not presented very well at all. Yes, the husband plays a cruel joke, but that's just being thoughtless. On the other hand, she deliberately plots to have him kill himself, is pissed when it doesn't succeed, and is heartlessly dismissive when he lets out all his love and emotion towards her. To me, she comes off much worse than he does.