Elena and Her Men (1956)

Elena and Her Men (Elena et les hommes)elena-and-her-men-ingrid-bergman-1956
Directed by Jean Renoir
Written by Jean Renoir and Jean Serge
Franco London Films/Les Films Gibe/Electra Compagnia Cinematografica
Repeat viewing/My DVD collection

“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” ― Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

One would hardly know that a great director was behind this lackluster farce.

The beautiful Polish Countess Elena Sokorowska (Ingrid Bergman) has many admirers and a talent for bestowing good luck upon her favorites through the gift of a daisy.  Her household has run out of pearls to sell though and she decides to marry an elderly munitions manufacturer.  One day she goes out to glimpse General François Rollan (Jean Marais, a war hero.  She meets Henry de Chevincourt (Mel Ferrer), who takes her to meet his friend Rollan.  She gives the General a daisy and he is named as the next Minister of War.


Elena goes off to the country home of her intended but keeps being drawn back to the General, who falls on hard times whenever his lady throws away his daisy.  It is the clever Chevincourt who really loves her, however, and he plots to win her amid the political intrigue surrounding Rollan.

Elena and Her Men Ingrid Bergman

I forgot almost everything about this film as soon as I turned it off.  Bergman and the scenery looked very beautiful but there seemed to be no point to telling this story.  For me, it just lacked the humor and romance that could have saved it.

Clip (no subtitles)

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