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The Possessors

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Possessors
Directed byDenys de La Patellière
Screenplay byDenys de La Patellière
Michel Audiard
Based onThe Magnates by Maurice Druon
Produced byJean-Paul Guibert
Claude Hauser
CinematographyLouis Page
Edited byJacqueline Thiédot
Music byMaurice Thiriet
Release date
  • 19 November 1958 (1958-11-19)
Running time
92 minutes

The Possessors (French: Les Grandes familles) is a 1958 French drama film directed by Denys de La Patellière, starring Jean Gabin, Pierre Brasseur, Bernard Blier, Jean Desailly, Françoise Christophe and Annie Ducaux. It tells the story of a forceful tycoon wholly devoted to the business he has nurtured, at the expense of his family and above all his only son. The screenplay is based on the novel Les grandes familles by Maurice Druon,[1] which won the Prix Goncourt in 1948.[2][3][4]

The film recorded 4,042,041 admissions in France.[5] Gabin received the 1959 David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor.[6]

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Noël Schoudler is the autocratic head of diversified family enterprises which include a bank, a newspaper and a sugar refinery. His only son François considers the whole set-up archaic and, while his father is on a business trip to the US, starts jazzing up the staid newspaper. On his return, the father is furious and decides to teach his son a lesson. He tells François that he can have the run-down sugar business, to manage as he pleases. Painfully lacking the necessary expertise, the young man launches into enthusiastic modernisation and expansion. It is rapidly brought home to him that he needs capital, which he will have to raise.

When his father tells him he is on his own, he turns to their cousin Maublanc, a malicious playboy who for several reasons hates the Schoudlers. One immediate grievance is that he asked their newspaper to promote his latest mistress, an aspiring actress called Sylvaine, and was not only refused but Noël's devious assistant Lachaume (having just made Noël's niece pregnant) took over the young woman. Feigning helpfulness to François, Maublanc says he will arrange everything with his brokers, but in fact tells them to leak the news that the Schoudler empire has run out of capital. As this will depress the share price, his plan is to buy a controlling interest on the cheap. When the market price starts falling, François is in despair and Maublanc tells him that the only decent thing to do is to put a bullet through his head. Unfortunately, the impressionable young man does so. Noël then goes down to the stock exchange where, speaking to brokers, he reassures them that his businesses are sound. The share price soars and Maublanc's plot is foiled.



  1. ^ "Les Grandes familles". (in French). Cinémathèque Française. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  2. ^ Weber, Bruce (15 April 2009). "Maurice Druon, Prolific Writer, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  3. ^ Lichfield, John (20 April 2009). "Maurice Druon: Writer and pugnacious defender of the French language". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-06-18. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Gaullist Minister Wrote Popular Anthem". The Washington Post. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Les Grandes Familles". AlloCiné. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  6. ^ "Le grandi famiglie". Rivista del cinematografo (in Italian). Retrieved 2015-07-28.

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This page was last edited on 2 December 2023, at 15:14
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