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The Diary of a Chambermaid (1946)

aka The Diary of a Chambermaid

Directed By: 
Details: 91 mins · English


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Small Célestine
Small Captain Mauger
Small Georges Lanlaire
Small Joseph
Small Madame Lanlaire
Small Rose
Small Louise
Small Captain Lanlaire
No_movie_poster Marianne


Small Jean Renoir Director
Small Burgess Meredith Screenplay
No_movie_poster Octave Mirbeau Adaptation
No_movie_poster André Heuzé Theatre Play
No_movie_poster André de Lorde Theatre Play
No_movie_poster Thielly Nores Theatre Play
No_movie_poster Benedict Bogeaus Production
No_movie_poster Octave Mirbeau Story Contributor
No_movie_poster André de Lorde Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Thielly Nores Story Contributor
No_movie_poster André Heuzé Story Contributor


The story picks up in the rural parts of France in 1885. The french chambermaid Celestine (Paulette Goddard) has grown tired of her position in life. When she arrives at her new position in Lanlaires, another French rural home, she makes a promise to herself, that in order to move up she will marry the next man of some wealth that walks through the door.

The morning after Celestine's arrival, the sadistic valet Joseph (Francis Lederer) shows Celestine the vault in which the family keeps their silver, which is used only on independence day, the 14th of July, when the family have a custom drink to the death of the Republic. The slightly intoxicated Celestine starts to flirt with Monsieur Lanlaire, a man completely subdued by his dominating and disagreeable wife.

When Lanlaire offers Celestine money to buy a present, she asks him for a piece of the silver instead. One of the Lanlaires' next-door neighbors, Captain Mauger, throws a rock through Lanlaire's greenhouse and interrupts their conversation. Mauger is a very hyperactive man who eats flowers and lives alone with his servant Rose. This man now presses Celestine to come and live with him. To persuade her he offers to marry her and make her a present of the 25,000 francs he has hidden in his house.

When the Lanlaires' pale, tubercular son Georges comes home, Madame Lanlaire buys the attractive Celestine new dresses and instructs her to care for Georges, hoping that her charms will keep him at home. But in spite of Celestine's alluring appearance, Georges soon announces that he intends to leave for Paris. That same night, Madame Lanlaire sends Celestine, dressed only in her nightgown, to Georges's room with some broth. Georges is happy to see her, but later he accuses Celestine of conspiring with his mother to keep him trapped.

Celestine realizes that Madame Lanlaire has used her for dubious purposes. She gets angry and quits her job on the spot. She asks the valet Joseph for a ride to the station, but instead he begs her to stay. Joseph tells her that he has saved almost enough money to buy a café in Cherbourg. Joseph also mentions that he intends to steal the Lanlaires' silver on independence day and he offers to marry Celestine and set her up in the café with the profits. Celestine reluctantly agrees to stay until after the independence day celebration. Since Madame Lanlaire has overheard Joseph's conversation with Celestine, his plans of stealing the silverware are stopped.

Joseph becomes desperate and plans to steal Mauger's fortune. When Mauger and Celestine are at the celebration down in the village, Joseph searches the house. The problem is that Mauger returns unexpectedly and Joseph has to kill him to prevent their discovery. Celestine sees Joseph come out of Mauger's garden with a shovel and realizes what has occurred. Even so, when Joseph announces that he intends to marry Celestine and leave, she agrees to it. Georges isn't happy at all by the announcement of their marriage, and Madame Lanlaire begs Joseph to take Celestine away from her son. Joseph agrees to do so in exchange for the silverware. Joseph and Celestine later leave the Lanlaires with a cart full of silver, but are stopped by the crowds celebrating in the village. Celestine is reluctant to leave, and hoping to delay their departure, she hands out the silver to the villagers. Georges has set out to get Celestine back to the house, and arrives while she is doing this, and he and Joseph struggle over her. The townspeople join in the fight and Joseph is killed. Later, Celestine and Georges board the train together, leaving town.

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