Marcel Pagnol’s Post-War Movies

Marcel Pagnol's Manon of the Spring

Manon of the Spring

An adaptation of an Emile Zola novel, Nais was the first film that Marcel Pagnol made after the end of the war in 1946. The setting was transposed in the Estaque port in Marseille and it starred  Jacqueline Bouvier (now Misses Pagnol ), the popular comedy actor Fernandel (in the role of the hunchback), Henri Poupon and Raymond Pellegrin. Also, dissatisfied with the two versions of Topaz made in 1931 and 1936, Pagnol shot a third version in 1950 with Fernandel and Hélène Perdrière.

Arguably born from Marcel Pagnol’s passion for researching sources on his property and the real-life story of a peasant ruined by the lack of water, Manon des Sources (Manon of the Spring) was shot in 1952 the hills of Treille and Garlaban near Marseille as well as in the Victorine studios in Nice. Starring his wife Jacqueline in the title role, the movie was a commercial and critical hit and was later remade by Claude Berri in 1985. Supported by a strong cast – Daniel Auteuil, Gerard Depardieu, Emanuelle Béart,  and Yves Montand – and split in two movies, Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, these new versions also found an international success.

back to Provence Movies featureMarcel Pagnol’s filmmaking activities started to slow down after this. His last movies as a director included an adaptation of an Alphonse Daudet novel, Les Lettres de Mon Moulin, as well as the TV movie Le curé de Cucugnan.  Besides writing and directing his own works, he was also involved as a screenwriter, producer or distributor of other movies, most notably Knock (1934), President Haudecoeur (1939), Mr. Brotonneau (1939) and The crossroads (1942).

For those of you visiting Provence, a Marcel Pagnol tour taking place in Aubagne takes you on locations where his movies were taking place.

Special Thanks


  • L’Age d’Or du Cinéma en Provencearchives municipales de
    Marseille, 1995.
  • Cent ans de cinéma à Marseille Revue Marseille n°174 , 1995.
  • Hommage à Marcel Pagnol, Exposition présentée par Le Crédit
    Commercial de France avec le concours de la Famille et des amis

Jean De Florette / Manon Of The Spring [Blu-ray]

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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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