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  • 122%funded
  • 167contributor
  • 18314€on15000€
  •  in restoration


Dug up by sheer chance in the USA, a film starring Jean GABIN and Madeleine RENAUD!

CELLULOID ANGELS is inviting you to this absolutely exceptional event. To participate in the restoration of a film once deemed lost and yet to be seen! And not just any film! A distribution teeming with great actors, among whom the mythical Jean GABIN in his first major role in cinema.

Cinephiles will immediately spot the connection with Jean VIGO’s l' if two years earlier, LA BELLE MARINIERE could have somehow and in some way inspired the chef-d'oeuvre...

Judge for yourself from the synopsis:

''Jean, captain on a barge, saves Marinette, daughter of a lock keeper, from drowning. He takes her aboard, where she passes her time in the company of his sister, Mique. They will fall in love and, soon enough, Jean and Marinette tie the knot. But at some point during the wedding ceremony, Sylvestre, the groom’s best friend, there attending the nuptials on the barge, in turn succumbs to Marinette’s charms. Mique, noticing what’s going on and not without a pang of jealousy alerts her brother. The two men came to blows, before Sylvestre flees. Life follows its monotonous course from lock to lock. Until one day, the couple again crosses the path of Sylvestre. Marinette, now head over heels for the young sailor, absconds on his barge sailing the canal in the opposite direction...''

By way of their international contacts, Serge BROMBERG and his team at LOBSTER FILMS have come across a 35mm copy down the UCLA archives. For the adventure to begin, we are launching this new campaign, seeking to collect the necessary funds to digitize the one and only known original. Technically, it will involve creating a 35mm duplicate (a 35mm back-up copy of the original) followed by a 2K scan once this element arrives on French soil.

All contributors to this project will be able to follow each and every single step throughout all the stages of this incredible event. So it all remains for you to join with us, unless you want to offer a close one this unique gift.

It will be a most beautiful gesture and the satisfaction of being among the first to lay eyes on a rare film!


Breakdown of collected funds for LOBSTER FILMS

  • 11 400 euros of collected funds will go towards financing both the project and corresponding rewards (76% of collected funds). The total cost for the 2K restoration comes to 70 896 euros excluding tax; the collected funds will help finance the initial stages (35mm copy of the original and 2K digitizing in France)
  •   3 600 euros will be allocated to CELLULOID ANGELS for managing the campaign (digital communication, press advertising, press relations, monitoring the restoration, managing the community and logistics concerning the rewards).


Wednesday, decembre 21st 2016

Incredible! For this morning, the goal is reached and LOBSTER MOVIES is now going to be able to start the works of the restoration of this movie! An immense one thanks to all the collectives who mobilized and grace to whom this movie is going to return! Thanks to Patrick GLATRE (Mission Cinema of the CG95) for its invaluable advice, thanks to ARMOR-LUX for the original support and the sailor sweaters, thanks to the collective of MERIEL who gathered the most important gift of the campaign with the implication of the Municipality of MERIEL, his tourist office, the Association of the Friends of the Abbey Notre-Dame du Val and the Association of the Friends of the Museum Jean Gabin (in private individuals Mathias and Florence MONCORGE, Jean-Louis DELANNOY, Hubert BERGER, Sylvie LEREBOURG and Latifa CHAREF), thanks to the collective of BUEIL who gathered the Municipality of BUEIL, the City Museum of the Cinema Jean DELANNOY and the Association of Friends of the Film-maker Jean DELANNOY (In private individuals, Claire DELANNOY, Michel CITHER, Denis JOULAIN and Rémy DUPONT)! Finally thanks to all the fans of this adventure and Charles ZIGMAN, who found the original 35mm copy! All the gifts collected beyond the objective are going to allow LOBSTER MOVIES to finance this restoration and to be so able to deepen the work. They will in particular allow to have a bigger room for maneuver if plans of the movie were particularly damaged. Finally (let us dream about little), according to the reached sums, LOBSTER MOVIES can maybe have a bait of budget to envisage the release of the movie in room! That would be fabulous !!!

In theaters: 
2 décembre 1932
Jean Gabin
Madeleine Renaud
Rosine Deréan
Pierre Blanchar
Paramount Studios
Marcel Achard : Scénario
Adaptation et Dialogue d'après sa pièce éponyme
Chief operator: 
Rudolph Maté
Jean Delannoy
Maurice Yvain
Film Format: 
35 mm
Picture format: 


Finding a lost film starring Jean Gabin – alongside Madeleine Renaud and Pierre Blanchar - is always a major event. But LA BELLE MARINIERE is not merely another tally mark on the list of disappeared films: it is above all an important film that left its mark on the year 1932, involving protagonists who have enormously counted in French artistic life.

Harry Lachmann (1896-1965), the director, nowadays a dusty memory, directed 45 films in the USA, England and France. Producer of Mare Nostrum (MGM, Rex Ingram, 1926), he returned to France in 1927 to direct a series of madcap documentaries on Côte d’Azur, entitled Travelaughs (a parody of the English term 'Travelogues'). A photographer and illustrator and USA born, he landed in France in 1911 to mingle with the country’s surrealist artists, himself becoming a feted Post-Impressionist painter.  A friend of Apollinaire and Stravinsky, he turned into a great art collector, later awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 1922 and knighted as Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in 1965. When 26, he chose to work as a set designer for the Victorine Studios, where he met Rex Ingram, Francophile director of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Valentino). This immense friend of France will go on to shoot his 45 films as a director between 1927 and 1942, mostly for 20th Century Fox, from burlesque comedies (like the famous 'Our Relations' with Laurel and Hardy) or musical comedies with Rudy Vallée, to the Charlie Chan crime drama series. His nephew, Charles Lachmann, was a founding member of the legendary cosmetics company that is Revlon.

In print, Marcel Achard (1899-1974) needs no introduction. A four-time jury member at Cannes (twice President of the Jury), he is one of the most prolific screenwriters and playwrights of his generation. With over 70 scripts to his name, he wrote the best of roles for the very top actors of his time. LA BELLE MARINIERE is his third film after Jean De La Lune and Mistigri, each time starring Madeleine Renaud.

The cinematographer is Rudolph Maté, one of the very best directors of photography ever to illuminate a film set. Some of the films shot by Maté (among his 75 films altogether): The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer), Prix de Beauté or Miss Europe (René Clair), Vampyr (Dreyer), Love Affair (McCarey, original release), Foreign Correspondent (Hitchcock), To Be Or Not To Be (Lubitsch), Gilda (Vidor), etc.


Madeleine Renaud, then 32 and Comédie Française Member, is nowhere near a debutant in the world of acting, having already starred in two silent films. The success of Jean De La Lune in 1931 thrusted her to the forefront of the big screen; La Belle Marinière happens to be her seventh film and one of her first major roles.

Pierre Blanchar is the other great male actor in the film. Following on his ten-year glitzy career, he is now an established star. In this same year he will take on the leading roles in Raymond Bernard’s Les Croix de Bois (Wooden Crosses) and in Pabst’s l’Atlantide (Mistress of Atlantis).

And finally, there is Jean Gabin, the hero in the story, Captain of the moment and whose career, in our mind, needs no special elucidation, for being so deeply imprinted in the DNA of French cinema.


LA BELLE MARINIERE was produced by the ephemeral Paramount Studios, seeing the day after the American company acquired the Louis Albert Studios of Saint Maurice in 1930. Back in those days, dubbing was unheard of and the scenes had to be shot and re-shot in each of the different languages. Actors in French, German and Italian took it in turns to step onto a same setting to shoot each and every scene in their native language. The invention and more common use of dubbing in 1935 put an end to this practice, with Paramount Studios France evaporating into thin air in 1934.

LA BELLE MARINIERE was the stand-out exception of the then technique of multilingual versions. With the actors playing typically French roles (inland waterways in France), the producers did not think it necessary to create foreign versions of the film, which was therefore shot only in French. The film would eventually meet with great acclaim after it was first released in December 1932. Two years later, Jean Vigo filmed l’Atalante to nudge the world of bargemen into the Pantheon of World Cinema.


It does alas seem that almost all of the films that were made by Paramount now exist only as mediocre or truncated copies…if they do exist at all. We have recently unearthed two films by Henri Garat and Meg Lemonnier (IL EST CHARMANT and UN SOIR DE REVEILLON), unique copies that have enabled us to resurrect Arletty and Dranem in one of their greatest roles.

LA BELLE MARINIERE was officially listed as lost, a film that no one ever again laid eyes upon after its original release. Not one single element of the film seemed to have survived, this until an American researcher alerted us on the allegedly abridged nitrate version of the film in the UCLA FILM ARCHIVES, listed under an erroneous title.

Hearing the news, I bolted on a plane to go and examine the nitrate copy that had magically appeared in Santa Clarita, out at UCLA’s new premises built by David Packard and the Packard Institute for Humanities.

As you can imagine, it was a particularly emotional moment and although the copy looked to be slightly truncated, miraculously it presented no sign of decomposition! With the original negatives gone, there was the sole viable element before my very eyes.

To share or not this marvellous moment in cinema from the 30s is now down to you!

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