Letters From My Windmill

2721. LETTERS FROM MY WINDMILL (1954-France). Directed and written by MARCEL PAGNOL English subtitles co-written by PRESTON STURGES. The Provence region of southern France was dear to the heart of playwright/screenwriter/director Marcel Pagnol. He was a native of the area and he infused much of his work with the rustic flavor and colorful character of Provence and its people. In this evocative three-part film, Pagnol interweaves sweelly winning stories that are told by one Alphonse Daudet, a Parisian author who comes to visit a friend in Provence and eventually plans to “write little pieces about (the) countryside for the Paris papers.” The first slory is titled “The Three Low Masses.” It is Christmas Eve, and a chap named Garrigou has gotten into a card game with the Devil. Of course he has lost, and the Devil has taken over poor Garrigou’s body and is intent on disrupting the evening’s religious service. A comic highlight: the Reverend Father’s farcical obsession with the feast he will be dining on after presiding over the title masses. Next, comes “The Elixir Of Father Gaucher.” It is the story of a group of priests and how they, too, are faced with temptation. It seems that the title character’s recently deceased Aunt Begonia had created a special drink that is alcoholic in nature. Can a rationalization be made for its use as a tonic? What will happen when the priests begin manufacturing it? The last story is “The Secret Of Master Cornille.” The title character is an elderly miller who, for years, has been able to grind tremendous amounts of wheat into flour. The locals suspect Master Cornille of being the perpetrator of illegal activity. The miller’s sweet and beautiful granddaughter innocently reveals the method behind his madness. This delightful film was shot on location in Pagnol’s beloved Provence. In French with English subtitles. 134 minutes. Drama