Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

93-94 mins | Drama | February 1958

Director:

Otto Preminger

Writer:

Arthur Laurents

Producer:

Otto Preminger

Cinematographer:

Georges Perinal

Editor:

Helga Cranston

Production Designer:

Roger Furse

Production Company:

Wheel Production, Ltd.
Full page view
HISTORY

Jean Seberg, as her character, "Cecile," provides a voice-over narration to the different parts of the film. The scenes in Paris were shot in black and white, while the scenes on the Riviera were shot in color. According to an Apr 1955 DV news item, Otto Preminger bought the film and theatrical rights to François Sagan's novel from French producer Ray Ventura. HR news items yield the following information about the film: In Mar and Apr of 1956, news items announced that S. N. Behrman was to write the screenplay and M-G-M would release the film. The extent of Behrman's contribution to the released film has not been determined, however.
       According to a Sep 1956 DV news item, M-G-M considered producing a theatrical version of Sagan's novel as a preliminary to the filmed production. A HR news item notes that in May 1956, Preminger was negotiating with Michele Morgan to star. In Jul 1956, Preminger conferred with Joe Wright about the production design and met with Etchika Choureau about playing the lead. Sep and Oct news items note that filming was done in Paris and St. Tropez, France and that interior scenes were filmed in London, England. A Mar 1958 article in Cosmopolitan noted that the villa scenes were filmed on location at Pointe de la Croisette, France.
       According to materials contained in the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collectioin at the AMPAS Library, the original summary of the novel submitted by M-G-M in Mar 1955 was rejected on the grounds that it portrayed "gross illicit sex without compensating moral values." Particularly ... More Less

Jean Seberg, as her character, "Cecile," provides a voice-over narration to the different parts of the film. The scenes in Paris were shot in black and white, while the scenes on the Riviera were shot in color. According to an Apr 1955 DV news item, Otto Preminger bought the film and theatrical rights to François Sagan's novel from French producer Ray Ventura. HR news items yield the following information about the film: In Mar and Apr of 1956, news items announced that S. N. Behrman was to write the screenplay and M-G-M would release the film. The extent of Behrman's contribution to the released film has not been determined, however.
       According to a Sep 1956 DV news item, M-G-M considered producing a theatrical version of Sagan's novel as a preliminary to the filmed production. A HR news item notes that in May 1956, Preminger was negotiating with Michele Morgan to star. In Jul 1956, Preminger conferred with Joe Wright about the production design and met with Etchika Choureau about playing the lead. Sep and Oct news items note that filming was done in Paris and St. Tropez, France and that interior scenes were filmed in London, England. A Mar 1958 article in Cosmopolitan noted that the villa scenes were filmed on location at Pointe de la Croisette, France.
       According to materials contained in the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collectioin at the AMPAS Library, the original summary of the novel submitted by M-G-M in Mar 1955 was rejected on the grounds that it portrayed "gross illicit sex without compensating moral values." Particularly objectionable was the fact that "Raymond's" relationship with his two mistresses was depicted as desirable. In Jun 1956, Preminger's revised version of the story was approved because the script exhibited "moral recognition" by ending with an air of penitence in which "Cecile" admits the error of her ways. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Jan 58
p. 26.
Box Office
27 Jan 1958.
---
Cosmpolitan
Mar 1958.
---
Daily Variety
27 Apr 1955.
---
Daily Variety
6 Sep 1956.
---
Daily Variety
15 Jan 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Jan 58
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 1956
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 1956
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 1956
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 1956
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 1957
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 58
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Jan 58
p. 681.
New York Times
16 Jan 58
p. 32.
Variety
15 Jan 58
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Paintings
COSTUMES
Cost coord
Gowns
Jewelry
Accessories
DANCE
Dances
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdressing
Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to prod
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Titles des
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan (New York, 1955).
SONGS
"Bonjour Tristesse," words and music by David Seville.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1958
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 15 January 1958
Production Date:
1 August--mid October 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Wheel Production, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
3 February 1958
Copyright Number:
LP10418
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
with b&w seq; Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
93-94
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18721
SYNOPSIS

In Paris, seventeen-year-old Cecile shares an empty, sybaritic life with her wealthy playboy father Raymond, whom she addresses by his Christian name. While Cecile joins Raymond and Denise, his latest mistress, at a nightclub, she muses to herself that she feels “surrounded by an invisible wall of memories” and longs for the happiness that she felt the previous summer on the Riviera: Cecile, Raymond and his fatuous young mistress Elsa are vacationing at a villa by the sea when Cecile spots a young man floundering in the water with his disabled sailboat. Cecile dives in to help him, after which he introduces himself as Philippe, a law student vacationing with his mother at a nearby villa. Soon after, Cecile’s idyllic summer is interrupted when a letter arrives from Anne, an old friend of her late mother, who has decided to accept Raymond’s invitation to spend the summer with them. Anne’s imminent arrival requires a shift in sleeping arrangements, and so Raymond moves into the beach house, forfeiting the villa’s three bedrooms to the women. When the earnest Anne arrives, she is disturbed by Cecile’s nonchalance over failing her school examinations and shocked by the presence of Elsa, who is not much older than Cecile. As the days progress, Raymond begins to pay more attention to Anne, arousing the jealousy of Elsa and Cecile, who at times relates to Raymond more like a lover than a father. While they are all attending a casino in town one night, Elsa meets Pablo, a former lover from South America. When Raymond and Anne disappear, Cecile goes to look for them and sees them talking ... +


In Paris, seventeen-year-old Cecile shares an empty, sybaritic life with her wealthy playboy father Raymond, whom she addresses by his Christian name. While Cecile joins Raymond and Denise, his latest mistress, at a nightclub, she muses to herself that she feels “surrounded by an invisible wall of memories” and longs for the happiness that she felt the previous summer on the Riviera: Cecile, Raymond and his fatuous young mistress Elsa are vacationing at a villa by the sea when Cecile spots a young man floundering in the water with his disabled sailboat. Cecile dives in to help him, after which he introduces himself as Philippe, a law student vacationing with his mother at a nearby villa. Soon after, Cecile’s idyllic summer is interrupted when a letter arrives from Anne, an old friend of her late mother, who has decided to accept Raymond’s invitation to spend the summer with them. Anne’s imminent arrival requires a shift in sleeping arrangements, and so Raymond moves into the beach house, forfeiting the villa’s three bedrooms to the women. When the earnest Anne arrives, she is disturbed by Cecile’s nonchalance over failing her school examinations and shocked by the presence of Elsa, who is not much older than Cecile. As the days progress, Raymond begins to pay more attention to Anne, arousing the jealousy of Elsa and Cecile, who at times relates to Raymond more like a lover than a father. While they are all attending a casino in town one night, Elsa meets Pablo, a former lover from South America. When Raymond and Anne disappear, Cecile goes to look for them and sees them talking in Raymond’s car. After passionately kissing Anne, Raymond drives off with her, declaring that “he wants her.” Cecile, angry that Raymond has now targeted the “unattainable” Anne as his quest, lies to Elsa that Raymond drove Anne home after she became ill. Sniffing that she “refuses to be treated like a wife,” Elsa leaves with Pablo. The next morning over breakfast at the villa, Anne tells Cecile that she and Raymond plan to be married, and Cecile feigns happiness for the couple while seething inside. Later, Anne, concerned about Cecile’s welfare, prevents her from making love to Philippe and then forbids Cecile to see him again. After Anne asserts that Cecile should study rather than squander her vacation on pleasurable pursuits, Cecile vows revenge. When Elsa stops by the villa to pick up her belongings, Cecile decides to use Raymond’s former mistress to forestall his marriage plans. Enlisting Elsa in her plot, Cecile instructs her to move in with Philippe’s mother, then arouse Raymond’s jealousy by pretending to fall in love with Philippe. Later, the prim Anne complains to Cecile that they must spend the evening with the Lombards, Raymond’s business partner and his wife, who Anne disdains as promiscuous drunks. While at the nightclub with the Lombards, Raymond sees Elsa dancing with Philippe and becomes jealous. When Cecile makes a critical comment about Anne, Raymond observes that she sounds more like Anne’s mother-in-law than her prospective step-daughter. The next day, an excited Elsa informs Cecile that Raymond called to apologize and has asked to meet her the following afternoon. After lunch the following day, Raymond lies to Anne that he is joining the Lombards aboard their yacht, then sneaks out to meet Elsa. After Raymond leaves, Cecile secretly follows Anne as she takes a walk in the woods and spots Raymond making love to Elsa. Anne recoils in horror when she overhears Raymond confide to Elsa that he only promised to marry Anne so that she would have sex with him. Running back to the house, the sobbing Anne jumps into her car and drives off, ignoring Cecile’s pleas to stay. Soon after, word comes that Anne’s car has been found at the bottom of the sea. Her thoughts now returning to the present, Cecile realizes that Anne allowed them to believe that her death was an accident rather than a suicidal reaction to her betrayal. She has not spoken to Philippe since that summer, and Elsa is now living with Pablo in South America. Cecile and Raymond have an unspoken agreement never to mention the previous summer, and she cannot free herself of being imprisoned by a wall of memories. As she is removing her makeup, a defeated Raymond comes into her room and talks about going somewhere different, maybe Italy. Thinking of how futile their life is, her eyes well up with tears. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.