Full of atmosphere, intensely tragic, studded with artistic touches of direction, acting and photography, it’s the filming of the story behind a rural police case [from an idea by J. Levert]. Takes place in the south of France and was filmed on the spot, with a sound truck. Not a single scene made in a studio.
Actors are all unknown but highly competent. Director Jean Renoir says he chose them obscure, not only for economy, but because unknown people can act the way they like and the script requires.
Locale is a region not far from Marseilles where there are a lot of Italian and Spanish laborers who work in quarries and till the soil. Leading character, Toni (Charles Blavette), is Italian. He gets entangled with a girl who keeps his boarding house. Marie (Jenny Helia) loves him but he falls in love with a young Spanish girl, Josepha (Celia Montalvan). She loves him but is taken away by the quarry foreman, Albert (Max Dalban), a Belgian with some education. Toni goes to live in the woods from where he can see Josepha’s house. There things come to a climax.
Fine guitar music, always apropos, provides relief and augmentation of the drama. There are no slow spots: tragedy is deliberately and regularly developed. Pic is all in dialect, a combination of Italian and Spanish accents and the Provencal accent of the part of France in which it was shot.