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La Garçonne

Marie Bell in La Garçonne (1936)
Directed by Jean de Limur
Written by Victor Margueritte (novel)
Albert Dieudonné (scriptwriter)
Starring Marie Bell
Music by Jean Wiener (including the music for Quand même, sung by Édith Piaf, lyrics by Louis Poterat)
Cinematography Roger Hubert
Charlie Bauer
Editing by Jean Oser
Distributed by Franco London Films
Release date(s) 21 February 1936
Running time 95 minutes
Country Flag of France.svg France
Language French

La Garçonne (The Bachelor Girl or The Flapper) is a 1936 French black and white film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Victor Margueritte. It was directed by Jean de Limur, and starred Marie Bell (in the title role), Arletty and Edith Piaf.



The eponymous garçonne or flapper is Monique Lerbier, an emancipated French woman who leaves home to escape a marriage of convenience to a man she does not love which her parents have forced on her. She then falls into all sorts of carnal temptations and artificial pleasures previously unknown to her. These include her being seduced into a lesbian love affair by a chanteuse character (played by Edith Piaf), ensuring the film became a succès de scandale. Another actress in the film, Arletty, said of it:

It was advanced, as an idea. Victor Margueritte, the author of the novel, took a major part in the production process. I maintained Marie Bell, in the film. One of the last times we saw each other, shortly before her death, we recalled this memory. "I maintained you in La Garçonne", I said to her, "and luckily this was not real life, otherwise you would have cost me dearly!" It has to be said of Marie that she was not cheap to keep! And how we laughed! [...] The film was a success thanks to the scandal it provoked. Seeing "bonnes femmes" as flappers, smoking opium [...] Seeing female homosexuals, in that epoque!"



  • Marie Bell : Monique Lerbier
  • Arletty : Niquette
  • Henri Rollan : Régis Boisselot
  • Maurice Escande : Lucien Vigneret
  • Jacque-Catelain : Georges Blanchet
  • Pierre Etchepare : Plombino
  • Philippe Hersent : Peer Rys
  • Jean Worms : Monsieur Lerbier
  • Marcelle Praince : Madame Lerbier
  • Vanda Gréville : Élisabeth
  • Suzy Solidor : Anika
  • Édith Piaf : the chanteuse
  • Jean Tissier : Monsieur des Souzaies
  • Marcelle Géniat : Aunt Sylvestre
  • Junie Astor
  • Jane Marken


Production details


  1. ^ Extract from Arletty ou la liberté d’être, biography by Christian Gilles, Librairie Séguier, Paris, 1988, ISBN 2906284866.
  2. ^ Video of the song
  3. ^ The lyrics give some idea of the film's atmosphere:
    Mes sens inapaisés,
    Cherchant pour se griser,
    L'aventure des nuits louches,
    Apportez-moi du nouveau.
    Le désir crispe ma bouche.
    La volupté brûle ma peau…
    ("My unappeased senses,/Seeking to intoxicate themselves, /The adventure of the decadent nights, / You bring me anew. / Desire makes my mouth tense. / Exquisite delight burns my skin…")

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